Theatre-goers will be able to enjoy a bit of Shakespeare all year round at the Pop-Up Globe, with a new seasonal roof that will make the Auckland venue all-weather appropriate.
Having entertained more than 600,000 people since opening in 2016, the popular Ellerslie theatre will be open for business through the colder months for the first time, with the Winter Festival starting on July 8 featuring a line-up of six shows including new productions of the comedy Twelfth Night and Middleton's The Roaring Girl.
Previously limited to the summer months due to its open-sky construction sympathetic to Shakespeare's 17th-century design, the change will ensure fans are kept dry while also allowing them to enjoy more of The Bard's works for more of the year.
The seasonal roof, which was commissioned from specialist Whangārei-based firm Fabric Structures, is a specially designed canvas structure, decorated with a hand-painted sky, incorporating native New Zealand birds flying to the heavens.
The roof will make the venue better than ever, covering the yard of the three-storey, 16-sided, 700-person capacity theatre, and helping to improve acoustics. The Winter Festival will also see two favourites, Hamlet and the Moulin Rouge-esque Measure for Measure, return in August, while the Pop-Up Globe Youth Theatre Company will present their debut production, the pop-comedy The Two Gentlemen of Verona, under the direction of Rita Stone.
A children's version of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream will also be performed during the July school holidays.
Artistic director and Pop-up Globe founder Miles Gregory is thrilled to be able to give fans more of what they want.
"We're constantly asked by fans why they have to wait six months for their next dose of Shakespeare, Pop-up Globe-style," said Gregory.
"Through careful engineering, we will be able to transform Pop-up Globe into a theatre that offers basic comforts without diluting the experience that Shakespeare created 400 or so years ago."
The Pop-Up Globe was first built in downtown Auckland next to the Town Hall in early 2016, as the world's first full-scale, temporary, working replica of the second Globe which was demolished in 1644.
It was shifted and built with a new design at its current home at Ellerslie Racecourse in 2017. The venue's intimate design means audience members are never more than 15 metres from the heart of the action on stage.
The Pop-Up Globe quickly became a theatrical phenomenon with productions travelling around the country and across the Tasman to Melbourne and Sydney.
Tickets for the Pop-Up Globe's Winter Festival go on sale on sale Monday, April 29.