For UK visitors who are keen for an outstanding cultural experience, the 2012 season gets off to an unusual start. The Globe to Globe Festival brings 37 different companies to the Globe to perform all of Shakespeare's plays - in 37 different languages. And to kick it all off, on April 22, there will be a marathon reading of all 154 Shakespearean sonnets, in 22 languages not already represented in the festival. It's free and there'll be a food market, music and dancers, and calligraphers and other bardic festivities.
"The Play's The Thing," is the theme of the main stage season, and what plays they are.
- Hamlet - The small scale, in the raw, production featuring a small company of actors opened in London in 2011 and toured the UK and Europe. Now they return in triumph with the 2011 production.
- Henry V - Successful touring production featuring Jamie Parker as the king in the romantic story of Henry's battles to reclaim English possessions in France. It features some of Shakespeare's most memorable secondary characters.
- As You Like It A reprisal of the 2011 production. Cross dressing, comedy and philosophy in a story of romance in the Forest of Arden. This small scale production toured the UK and Europe.
- The Taming of the Shrew - Will the gold digging Petruchio be able to turn shrewish Katherine into obedient wife material or will she really get the better of him. A great Shakespeare favorite.
- Richard III Mark Rylance returns to the Globe to portray the most evil English king in the Shakespearean repertoire.
- Anne Boleyne A revival of the 2010 production by Howard Brenton returns yet again in 2012. This modern play jumps back and forth through 70 years in time, linking Henry VIII's doomed queen with the scholarly King James I, who reconciled religious factions by creating a common "authorised" bible.
- Twelfth Night "Cruelty, high comedy and unrequited love." The company revisits its all-male, 2002 production, exploring the music, costumes, dance and settings that would have been possible in Shakespeare's day.