ENTERTAINMENT
25/10/2016 15:08 BST

Emma Rice To Leave Shakespeare's Globe Theatre Artistic Director Role Over 'Authenticity' Row

'Thank GOD they're keeping the authentic and historically accurate Shakespeare gift shop'

Rodrigo Vaz via Getty Images
Emma Rice will step down in April 2018

The artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe is to leave her role after the theatre’s board concluded her use of sound and lighting was too experimental.

Emma Rice, who took over the role in April, has been accused of steering productions away from authentic Shakespeare-era values with the use of neon lights and microphones.

A statement from the CEO of the Globe, Neil Constable, praised her “mould-breaking work” which has brought “new and diverse audiences” but said future work should return to the methods employed before she was hired.

Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP
A view The Globe Theatre nestled alongside contemporary buildings on the banks of the River Thames in London

It added: “We have now concluded that a predominant use of contemporary sound and lighting technology will not enable us to optimise further experimentation in our unique theatre spaces and the playing conditions which they offer.”

Rice’s tenure will end in April 2018.

Her production of Midsummer Night’s Dream divided opinion with its use of neon lighting with one critic calling it a “cynical betrayal of Sam Wanamaker’s work, showing no understanding of the point of the place”.

After her departure the theatre will return to “shared light” conditions designed to simulate the Elizabethan era when the original venue operated.

On Tuesday afternoon #EmmaRice was trending on Twitter overwhelmingly with messages of support for her and outrage over the theatre’s decision.

Rice said in a statement: “I have had a wonderful time creatively here at the Globe, but I respect the Board’s decision for its future direction.

“I look forward to continuing to explore the possibilities of this extraordinary space over the next 18 months, excited to see even more astonishing work unfolding in the glorious wooden ‘O’ as well as the exquisite Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. 

“My tenure as Artistic Director has given me the opportunity of forging relationships with the most talented array of directors, actors and Globe staff throughout my 2016 Wonder Season, who I will be sad to say farewell to. The wonder now continues with the Wonder Noir Winter Season, and ahead to my 2017 Summer Season, which promises to be filled with joy, delight and love.”