The Linguist

The Linguist 53,5

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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24 The Linguist OCTOBER/NOVEMBER FEATURES Frances Mechan-Schmidt goes to the Globe Theater in Neuss to discover Shakespeare's appeal in Germany 'All the world's a stage', proclaimed Shakespeare in As You Like It, as true today as it was in 1600, when the eminent playwright penned the line for one of his best-loved works. His plays have endured down the centuries, translated into 100 languages and performed on stages around the world, with thespian festivities in full swing this year to mark the 450th anniversary of his birth. Yet the fact that his plays travel the world in English, transcending cultures and delighting a multitude of audiences, would have astonished Shakespeare most of all. "In Shakespeare's day, the English-speaking world stopped at English shores," explains Patrick Spottiswoode, Director of Education at The Globe in London. "The idea that English drama could play to audiences worldwide was inconceivable to him – beyond his wildest dreams." Yet the Globe Theater in Neuss, northwest Germany, has been playing to international audiences for 24 years. The distinctive 12-sided building, offset by bold, black-and- white shutters, is in a quirky location next to a sprawling racecourse. Modelled on an amphitheatre to allow maximum proximity between the players and its 500-strong audience, the theatre was completed in 1991, six years before The Globe in London. The Neuss Globe Theater runs an annual four-week Shakespeare Festival in July and August, staging productions by companies from all over Europe, in addition to readings, reviews and jazz sessions that extol Shakespeare's genius in a variety of artistic ways. A nice touch are the traditional pre-theatre picnics, for which visitors book a 'horsebox' in the racetrack grounds. 2014 was another successful year. "We played to over 90% capacity and nearly 14,000 visitors, despite some World Cup games overlapping with Shakespeare performances," says Festival Director Rainer Wiertz. Spottiswoode's ties to Neuss go back more than 20 years. During the reconstruction phase of the London Globe, he was approached by Heinz Abeling, a German school exchange promoter, to arrange lectures and workshops for German students visiting London. Back then, it was just a couple of exchange groups in the summer holidays. "These days, roughly 20,000 German students take part in Globe workshops in London every year," he explains. At the same time, Sam Wanamaker, Founder of The Globe in London, struck up a lifelong friendship with German director Norbert Kentrup, who became the first actor to play Shylock at the London Globe. These links eventually spawned the German Shakespeare Globe Centre (SGC), which promotes the London Globe in Germany through educational and theatre workshops, exchange travel and academic research. SGC Vice-President Dr Vanessa Schormann gives introductory talks in English before every performance at the Neuss theatre to familiarise the audience with the plot and actors. A bard experience © DOMINIC CLEMENCE

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