Pop-up Globe

Auckland's Pop up Globe features many Central Acting graduates, and tutor Ben Naylor is Associate Director of the theatre

Pop-up Globe is a full-scale temporary recreation of the Second Globe Theatre (1613-42). Built in February 2016 for the Shakespeare 400 commemoration in Auckland, NZ, it is now the largest theatre production company in New Zealand, with over 100 staff and contractors.

The theatre’s 2016 opening season was the biggest Shakespeare festival ever held in the southern hemisphere, selling over 100,000 tickets during a 12-week season and winning multiple awards; it comprised two in-house productions (Romeo and Juliet and Twelfth Night) and eight visiting productions. The second season, featuring four in-house productions (Othello and Much Ado About Nothing performed by the Queens’s Company and Henry V and As You Like It performed by the King’s Company) will open on 23 February 2017.

The project is the brainchild of Artistic Director Dr Miles Gregory, Shakespeare director and scholar and former Visiting Lecturer on MA Acting; he directed Twelfth Night in the 2016 season, and will be directing Henry V for the 2017 season. Ben Naylor, Course Leader of MA Acting (Classical), is Associate Director of the theatre; he directed Romeo and Juliet in the 2016 season, and will be directing Othello for the 2017 season. (Image above: Pop-up Globe website)

Graduate involvement

To date, nine graduates of Central’s MA Acting (MAAC) are involved:

Haakon Mustafa Akdokur Smestad (MAAC 2011) will be playing Iago/Conrade in the Queen’s Company in 2017;

Kieran Mortell (MAAC 2012) will be playing Roderigo/Dogberry in the Queen’s Company in 2017;

Chris Huntly Turner (MAAC 2013) will be playing Henry V/Amiens in the King’s Company in 2017;

Eddie Bijl (MAAC 2014) was Assistant Director for the 2016 season; he has since taken up a permanent post as Casting Associate and will be Senior Assistant Director for the 2017 season;

Jasmine Blackborow (MAAC 2014) will be playing Desdemona/Ursula in the Queen’s Company in 2017;

Michael Mahony (MAAC 2014) will be playing Touchstone/Chorus in the King’s Company in 2017;

Daryl Green (MAAC 2015) will be playing Cassio/Borachio in the Queen’s Company in 2017;

Stanley Andrew Jackson III (MAAC 2015) played Mercutio/Malvolio in 2016 and will be playing Celia/Dauphin in the King’s Company in 2017;

Jonathan Tynan-Moss (MAAC 2015) played Romeo/Sebastian in 2016 and will be playing Rosalind/Cambridge in the King’s Company in 2017.

What our graduates say

Jonathan Tynan-Moss, MAAC 2015: “Though I could not have expected the success we achieved, when I signed my contract for PuG 2016, I knew I was walking into something big. As my first professional job, the thought of a project this high profile was daunting. But as soon as the rehearsal process began I knew Central had given me the toolkit to be one of the most prepared actors in the room for whatever lay ahead, and I am very grateful for that. The length of the run, working with different sorts of actors and directors, and unexpectedly becoming a teenage heart-throb were some things that Central could not prepare me for. PuG threw all those challenges and more at me. With all that combined with moving to New Zealand, I learned something about every aspect of myself as a performer, and a person.”

Stanley Andrew Jackson, MAAC 2015: “The Pop-up Globe was the perfect professional training ground for a recent drama school graduate. The most exciting thing that I learned from working on the Pop-up Globe stage was how to establish a truthful relationship with the audience using Shakespeare’s text. The most rewarding part of performing with the Pop-up Globe was being challenged to play two characters simultaneously for 4 months. This lengthy season afforded me the opportunity to continually discover each of my characters every single day.”

List the key aims of the project

  • The company aims to create exceptional professional productions of Shakespeare plays, exploring both original and contemporary staging practices.
  • The company aims to introduce school students to Shakespeare in the transformative setting of a replica 17th-century theatre. Over 20,000 school students attended the 2016 season, and the schools matinee/education programme has been expanded for 2017.
  • The company aims to tour internationally: the theatre can be built anywhere in the world, as it is primarily constructed from configurable, locally-available materials.
  • The company aims to bring together performers and creatives from NZ and around the world: actors from seven different countries will participate in the 2017 season.
  • The company aims to act as a scholarly laboratory and repository for the performance of Shakespeare. The theatre’s evolving architectural design takes advantage of the most recent Shakespearean scholarship, much of which challenges contemporary orthodoxy; and its staging practices (developed in great part from the principles taught and developed on MA Acting) place the unique space at the heart of the performance style. An academic conference at the University of Auckland, several seminars and numerous workshops attended the 2016 season, and a similar programme of academic and practice-based research will take place in 2017.

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