A Haunting Play To Watch This Winter: Ghosts

By Olivia Emily

8 months ago

Coming to the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse


The Globe is known for its dedication to Shakespeare – so who to stage when you’re after something a little different? Perhaps second only to Shakespeare in influence, Henrik Ibsen is a natural choice, and his controversial play Ghosts will mark the beginning of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse’s tenth anniversary season this winter.

First Look: Ghosts At The Globe’s Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Hattie Morahan and Stuart Thompson in rehearsal for Ghosts at Shakespeare's Globe

Hattie Morahan and Stuart Thompson in rehearsal for Ghosts at Shakespeare’s Globe. © Marc Brenner

Adapted and directed by Joe Hill-Gibbins, this is the first time Ibsen has been performed at Shakespeare’s Globe, and it’s into the intimate Sam Wanamaker Playhouse for audiences. Tucked just next to the open air Globe, this small space is lit by over 100 beeswax candles with a ceiling painted like the night sky, and was constructed in 2013 using 17th century plans.

Published in 1881 and first performed a year later, Ghosts is widely considered the first modern tragedy, centring on a widower Helene and her painter son Oswold as they confront ugly sins of the past and the consequences of their actions. Spanning topics such as sexually transmitted infections, incest, religion and euthanasia, it’s a heavy, complex commentary on 19th century morality, and it generated a lot of fuss when it first debuted due to its frank discussion of venereal disease.

‘It’s a privilege to be staging Ibsen at Shakespeare’s Globe for the very first time, and also to be opening the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse’s 10th Anniversary Season,’ says Director Joe Hill-Gibbins. ‘I’m excited to light the candles and see what emerges from Ibsen’s exploration of forbidden desire, and of the social, biological and emotional forces that entrap us.’

Paul Hilton in rehearsal for Ghosts at Shakespeare's Globe

Paul Hilton in rehearsal for Ghosts at Shakespeare’s Globe. © Marc Brenner

Who Stars?

  • Greg Hicks as Engstrand
  • Paul Hilton as Father Manders
  • Hattie Morahan as Helene Alving
  • Sarah Slimani as Regine Engstrand
  • Stuart Thompson as Osvald Alving
Sarah Slimani and Stuart Thompson in rehearsal for Ghosts at Shakespeare's Globe

Sarah Slimani and Stuart Thompson in rehearsal for Ghosts at Shakespeare’s Globe. © Marc Brenner

Watch

Ghosts runs from 10 November 2023 until 28 January 2024 at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse (21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London SE1 9DT). Tickets start from £5 and can be booked at shakespearesglobe.com