In defence of Shakespeare’s Globe

Off to my old manor, the Globe theatre, to join a celebratory gathering of thems and theys for I, Joan, a non-binary telling of the Joan of Arc story. The show has caused no shortage of outrage in various communities on the left, centre and right, and has had the Globe labelled as misogynist by feminists of a certain generation. It is a great compliment to the Globe that even though it only opened in 1997, it is already held so dear that whatever happens there is quickly amplified into a broader debate. In my time as artistic director, we had one Sun front page ridiculing our engagement with foreigners;

How politics killed theatre

Hope can be remarkably persistent. And so, despite several years of experience pointing in starkly the other direction, a recent weekend saw me at Who Killed My Father at the Young Vic, the latest from ubiquitous Belgian director Ivo van Hove. A young friend had gone with his father the previous week and both described it as ‘excellent’. Intense, but in a good way. Worthy broadsheet publications gave it four stars. I had my doubts: Édouard Louis, on whose angry memoir about growing up in a working-class, homophobic home in northern France the play was based, is not my cup of tea. But the friend, and his father, are both

Rhapsodic banalities: I, Joan, at the Globe, reviewed

‘Trans people are sacred. We are divine.’ The first line of I, Joan at the Globe establishes the tone of the play as a public rally for non-binary folk. The writer, Charlie Josephine, seems wary of bringing divinity into the story too much, and he gives Joan a get-out clause to appease the agnostics. ‘Setting aside religiosity we’ll settle for more of a street god, a god for the queers and drunks… a god for the godless.’ What can ‘a god for the godless’ mean? No idea. Joan throws in a few more hipster platitudes about ‘elevating our humanity, finding the unity hidden inside community, remembering our collective connectivity fuels