Walking along the river, you notice the lights start to go out. Restaurants have started to bring in their chairs and tables. Suited workers have begun to collect their things before rushing off for the last train home. It’s midnight on the Southbank and all around you, things are starting to shut down.
But if you continue toward Southwark, you’ll see that one place is just starting its working day, with people queued outside to get in before things kick off at midnight. No, it’s not a new club or trendy bar. It’s the Globe Theatre staging the next in its series of Midnight Matinees.
Two more times this summer, the Globe will be putting on performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (12 July) and The Tempest (9 August) in its open air theatre. Both shows begin under starry skies at 11:59pm. The night-time setting makes for an ideal backdrop for both plays. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is set in a magical forest where fairies play mischievous tricks on a group of wedding-goers. The Tempest, Shakespeare’s final play, also relies heavily on magic to tell the story of the sorcerer Prospero and his attempts to restore his political power.
If you want to truly replicate the Shakespearean experience, you can buy a £5 ground ticket to stand in front of the stage as most theatregoers did in the original Globe (seated tickets are also available for those unwilling to be on their feet for three hours). Regardless if you sit or stand, though, you’re sure to be swept up in the atmosphere and energy of the event which will help you forget the time…until you emerge from the theatre with the first streaks of sunrise in the sky. (Words: Barbara Cole)
For more info about Midnight Matinees, visit: www.shakespearesglobe.com/theatre/whats-on/special-events/midnight-matinees