Shakespeare’s Globe is delighted to announce that Mark Rylance will star as Philippe V, King of Spain in Claire van Kampen’s new play with music, Farinelli and the King, premiering in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in February 2015

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Mark Rylance to take lead role in Claire van Kampen’s new play with music Farinelli and the King, alongside Iestyn Davies and William Purefoy
Monday 8 September 2014
Shakespeare’s Globe is delighted to announce that Mark Rylance will star as Philippe V, King of Spain in Claire van Kampen’s new play with music, Farinelli and the King, premiering in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in February 2015. The role of the castrato Farinelli will be sung by celebrated countertenors Iestyn Davies and William Purefoy.

Set in eighteenth-century Spain and Italy, the play tells the true story of Farinelli, once the world’s most famous castrato, and his decision to trade fame and fortune for a life of servitude at the court of King Philippe V. Claire van Kampen’s sumptuous new play explores the intriguing dynamics between Farinelli and the royal couple and is replete with some of the greatest arias of the period.

Farinelli and the King is the latest in a series of genre-bending plays with music at Shakespeare’s Globe. Last year Samuel Adamson’s Gabriel, a celebration of the music of Purcell and the teeming life of London in the 1690s in collaboration with the English Concert and Alison Balsom, garnered huge critical acclaim and a run of sell-out performances. This year the candlelit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse hosted Jessica Swale’s Thomas Tallis, a specially commissioned piece following the life and work of the celebrated composer through four Tudor monarchies featuring The Sixteen, one of the world’s greatest choral ensembles.

Mark Rylance last appeared at the Globe in 2012 in Tim Carroll’s hugely lauded sell-out productions of Twelfth Night and Richard III, which subsequently enjoyed a phenomenally successful West End and Broadway run. His other recent theatre credits include Johnny ‘Rooster’ Byron in Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem, (Royal Court, West End, Broadway) and he is shortly to star as Thomas Cromwell in the BBC2 adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize-winning novel Wolf Hall.

Praised as ‘one of the most glorious countertenor voices in the world today’ by the Independent and described as ‘superb’ by the New York Times, Iestyn Davies’ recent awards include the 2013 Critics’ Circle Award for Exceptional Young Talent and the 2014 Gramophone Recital Award for his recent disc Arise, my muse. A versatile performer equally at home on both the opera and concert stage, Iestyn has sung roles for New York’s Metropolitan Opera, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Paris’ Opera Comique, English National Opera, Milan’s Teatro alla Scala and at the Munich and Vienna Festivals. He has also performed in concert and recital at the Barbican, the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, the Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York, the Royal Albert Hall at the BBC Proms and London’s Wigmore Hall.

William Purefoy has performed with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Hanover Band, the English Concert and The Sixteen. His concert, recital and operatic appearances include Carnegie Hall, the Staatsoper Hanover, Wigmore Hall and the Royal Albert Hall for the BBC Proms. He was a finalist in the Kathleen Ferrier Awards and a winner of the NFMS Young Concert Artists Award. He was also featured in the television series In Search of Shakespeare and the film The Young Victoria.

Farinelli and the King will be just one of the highlights of a glittering musical season in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse between October 2014 and April 2015. World-famous tenor Ian Bostridge will join Chinese classical guitarist Xuefei Yang for an eclectic programme of English and Chinese classical and folk music, celebrated sitar player and composer Anoushka Shankar will explore the work of Rabindranath Tagore over a series of concerts, and actress Charlotte Rampling and cellist Sonia Wieder-Atherton will present a unique evening comprising the haunting poetry of Sylvia Plath and Benjamin Britten’s suites for the solo cello.



Farinelli and the King by Claire van Kampen

11 February – 8 March 2015

Press night: Friday 20 February 2015

Please note that William Purefoy will be singing the role of Farinelli for the following performances.

Saturday 14 February, 7.30pm
Wednesday 4 March, 7.30pm
Thursday 5 March, 2.30pm
Friday 6 March, 7.30pm
Saturday 7 March, 7.30pm
Sunday 8 March, 2.30pm

Iestyn Davies will be singing the role of Farinelli for the following performances:

Wednesday 11 February, 7.30pm
Thursday 12 February, 7.30pm
Wednesday 18 February, 7.30pm
Friday 20 February, 7.30pm (press night)
Sunday 22 February, 2.30pm
Monday 23 February, 7.30pm
Tuesday 24 February, 7.30pm
Thursday 26 February, 7.30pm
Saturday 28 February, 7.30pm
Monday 2 March, 7.30pm

Shakespeare’s Globe


Phone               +44 (0) 20 7401 9919

In person          Mon-Sat 10am-6pm (8pm on performance days)

Sundays           10am-5pm (7pm on performance days)


Tickets               £5 – £42 (Globe Theatre) £10 – £60 (Sam Wanamaker Playhouse)

  • The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse: The new candlelit Jacobean theatre at Shakespeare’s Globe opened in January 2014. The Playhouse hosts concerts and other events throughout the summer, with the main indoor theatre season running October to April.
  • Globe Education: Presenting a year-round programme of workshops, lectures, events, Globe Education offers family theatre, UK and international outreach projects in schools and for learning groups, Higher Education courses, pioneering digital resources and cutting-edge research.
  • Globe Exhibition & Tour: Open to the public all year and explores the life of Shakespeare, the London where he lived, and the theatre for which he wrote.
  • Globe On Tour: The Globe’s productions tour extensively in the UK and internationally. Current tours include: King Lear, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and a production of Hamlet that is travelling to every country in the world.
  • Globe On Screen: Shakespeare’s Globe returns to cinemas in early 2014, bringing 2013’s season of triumphs to cinemas worldwide from April. Globe On Screen 2014 featuring The Tempest, Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, all captured ‘live’ in high definition.
  • Globe Shop: Stocks a variety of products, including theatre season-specific merchandise. All profits go towards supporting our educational mission.


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