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Henry 6 2023 with Workshop Series

The Old Globe,
one of the country’s leading Shakespeare theatres,
will present
Henry 6
as part of its 2023 Season:
an ambitious, large-scale project
centering on a new two-play adaption of
Shakespeare’s Henry VI trilogy
and including a yearlong series of
citywide arts engagement and humanities events
leading up to and accompanying the production

Adapted and directed by
Globe Artistic Director Barry Edelstein,
Henry 6
will be the centerpiece of the theatre’s
2023 Summer Shakespeare Festival
in the outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre
and will mark the Globe’s
completion of the Bard’s canon

San Diegans will have opportunities to
participate in this epic event, kicking off with
the free annual AXIS event
Happy Birthday, Mr. Shakespeare!
on Saturday, April 16
on the Globe’s outdoor Copley Plaza

PHOTO EDITORS: Photos of The Old Globe can be found here.

SAN DIEGO (April 1, 2022) The Old Globe announced today it will present an ambitious, large-scale project including a new two-play adaptation of Henry VI, Parts I, II, and III, together with a yearlong program of citywide arts engagement and humanities events. Noted Shakespearean director and Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein adapts and directs Henry 6, which will be presented as part of the theatre’s 2023 Season and will be the centerpiece of the 2023 Summer Shakespeare Festival in the outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre. The production will mark the Globe’s completion of the Bard’s canon. In celebration of this milestone, The Old Globe, one of the country’s leading Shakespeare theatres, will present an array of free, citywide arts engagement and humanities events leading up to and accompanying Henry 6. The theatre will also offer reduced-price and no-cost tickets to maximize access for San Diegans. Henry 6 will include opportunities for interested San Diegans to participate in the making of the production.

The three Henry VI plays are among Shakespeare’s earliest. They depict the Wars of the Roses, a decades-long civil war fought in early-modern England between the York and Lancaster dynasties. For Henry 6, Edelstein has condensed the three plays into two, highlighting the thrilling episodic nature of the story, the vivid characters whose actions drive events, and their single-minded quests for power at any cost. Shakespeare’s plays argue that power divorced from values leads to chaos, violence, and anarchy, and as always, he explores vast national themes by dramatizing their most personal and human impacts. Edelstein’s adaptations include all the great language, characters, spectacle, battles, and sweeping crowd scenes that make the three Shakespeare plays so memorable, while streamlining their stories and focusing their often sprawling narrative.

“The Old Globe is one of North America’s great Shakespeare companies, and in its 87 years it has produced almost every Shakespeare play, some many times,” said Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein. “But three plays have remained undone: Henry VI, Parts I, II, and III. Over the past two years I’ve had the privilege to adapt these three plays into two and to conceive a production of them that embraces their full sweep, from drama to comedy, from the personal to the political, and from the intimate to the epic. Henry 6 will be a work of professional Shakespeare at the high level Globe audiences have come to expect, but it will also weave our nationally renowned arts engagement programming into our work in new ways, as community members participate in the making of the show throughout every part of the process. This will be a grand adventure for the Globe and me, and I’m thrilled to share it with San Diego.”

Consulting with Edelstein and the Globe will be his longtime friend and colleague, the eminent Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro of Columbia University. In addition to being one of the world’s most prominent academic Shakespeareans, Shapiro also has deep experience in theatre: he is the Shakespeare Scholar in Residence at The Public Theater in New York, where he advises directors on every production of the Bard’s plays there.

The Shakespeare canon is generally considered to comprise 36 plays (37, if The Two Noble Kinsmen, which The Old Globe has produced, is included in the count). Of those, the only three the Globe has not produced are Henry VI, Parts I, II, and III. By producing those three works in this new two-part adaptation, the Globe joins the small list of North American theatre companies that have assayed every single Shakespeare play.

As part of the milestone celebration, the Arts Engagement Department at The Old Globe will present The H6 EPIC Workshop Series, a series of workshops that will invite San Diego communities and Globe audiences to connect and to get involved with the production of Henry 6 in multiple and meaningful ways throughout various fun events and workshops that will lead up to the premiere of the production. As the production takes shape, community members will have opportunities to take part in its creation. More details about those opportunities will follow in the months ahead.

Kicking off the H6 events is the free annual AXIS event Happy Birthday, Mr. Shakespeare!,taking place on Saturday, April 16 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the Globe’s outdoor Copley Plaza for all to celebrate the Globe’s resident playwright with Henry 6–themed and family-friendly fun. This celebration will be an entry point for audiences to become familiar with the production’s storyline and themes. Audiences will participate in a stage fighting demonstration and learn to craft roses, a vital element of the story. There will also be a masquerade ball and a sonnet competition with prizes and more surprises. For those interested in registering for The H6 EPIC Workshop Series, there will be an information session on Saturday, April 30 outdoors in the Lowell Davies Festival Theatre.

The first workshop series, Playing Henry!, designed by Associate Director of Arts Engagement Katherine Harroff and Programs Manager Erika Phillips, is a 10-week public workshop of unique stand-alone sessions where participants will create personal work that engages the play through fun exercises, warm-up games, and creative writing prompts, culminating in a presentation of participants’ dramatic writings. Participants are invited to attend all 10 workshops beginning this May. In the second series, Making Henry!, participants will be able to dive more deeply into the story by incorporating technical theatre design concepts, and learn from and participate with the nationally recognized designers of Henry 6. Designers and Globe professional artists and artisans will work with attendees to develop some of the props and set design elements for the stage. And finally, in a by-invitation-only private workshop, Performing Henry! will focus community members on performance opportunities using unconventional art mediums, such as video. Barry Edelstein and his team of collaborating directors will invite a select group of participants to be part of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform in Henry 6on The Old Globe’s Festival Theatre stage.

Locations for The H6 EPIC Workshop Series include Chula Vista Public Library, Lemon Grove Branch Library, San Diego Central Library, and Oceanside Public Library, with dates to be announced. There will be multiple entry points for participants to connect with these accessible and engaging once-in-a-lifetime workshops. Follow the Arts Engagement Department on Facebook and Instagram for news and updates as there will be limited capacity. Registrations for all events and workshops will open soon on www.TheOldGlobe.org.

“We look forward to expanding access to The Old Globe’s programming throughout San Diego,” said Associate Artistic Director and Director of Arts Engagement Freedome Bradley-Ballentine. “Over the past few years, our arts engagement effort has been active both city- and countywide in supporting communities that lack access to theatre arts. This project will build on that engagement. We designed surveys asking people how they would like to be involved. Their responses ranged from gaining acting skills and learning something new, to connecting with their community. We thrill in going deep with our programs, and our Henry 6 project is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a part of something this epic.”

Tickets for The Old Globe’s production of Henry 6 will be initially available by subscription at a later date. For more information visit www.TheOldGlobe.org or call at (619) 23-GLOBE (234-5623).

Henry 6 is made possible by a generous grant from The Roy Cockrum Foundation. The Old Globe’s arts engagement programs are supported by Price Philanthropies, Qualcomm, U.S. Bank, and Viasat, with additional support by La Jolla Kiwanis Foundation. Globe Teaching Artists are supported by the Ann Davies Fund for Teaching Artists. Financial support is provided by The City of San Diego. The Theodor and Audrey Geisel Fund provides leadership support for The Old Globe’s year-round activities.

Bios and photos of all participants can be found here.

The Tony Award–winning The Old Globe is one of the country’s leading professional not-for-profit regional theatres. Now in its 87th year, the Globe is San Diego’s flagship performing arts institution, and it serves a vibrant community with theatre as a public good. Under the leadership of Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein and the Audrey S. Geisel Managing Director Timothy J. Shields, The Old Globe produces a year-round season of 16 productions of classic, contemporary, and new works on its three Balboa Park stages, including its internationally renowned Shakespeare Festival. More than 250,000 people annually attend Globe productions and participate in the theatre’s artistic and arts engagement programs. Its nationally prominent Arts Engagement Department provides an array of participatory programs that make theatre matter to more people in neighborhoods throughout the region. Humanities programs at the Globe and around the city broaden the community’s understanding of theatre art in all its forms. The Globe also boasts a range of new play development programs with professional and community-based writers, as well as the renowned The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program. Numerous world premieres—such as 2014 Tony Award winner for Best Musical A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Bright Star, The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! — have been developed at The Old Globe and have gone on to highly successful runs on Broadway and at regional theatres across the country.

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