Three resounding cheers from me for today's announcement. Michelle Terry is an ideal choice and I predict she will have no difficulty in moving the theatre into a new era that blends tradition and innovation in a way that Emma Rice never even got close to. There seems to be a certain amount of confusion today among Rice's diehard supporters, who swallowed her line that she was only removed as Artistic Director because she was a woman. That was always nonsense. It was always likely that another woman would take over as the choice of a largely female selection panel. And a very good thing too.
I don't want to dwell on the reasons why Emma Rice turned out to be such a bad choice; though I may have been one of the first to predict that she would have to depart early. My reasons for thinking her appointment a big mistake by the Globe Board haven't changed. She charged into a theatre with a brilliant reputation built up by her predecessors and made it clear she was determined to trash everything they had created, creating something of a personality cult along the way, with her photograph adorning every programme.
This has been misleadingly described by people who are unfamiliar with the Globe's past under Mark Rylance and Dominic Dromgoole as a conflict between Rice, the fearless innovator, and the massed ranks of traditionalist Shakespeareans, clad in doublet and hose. But the opposite was true. It was Rylance and Dromgoole who built their theatre around Sam Wanamaker's original innovative vision of Shakespeare performed with the audience and the actors sharing the same light and sound conditions. This created something unique. Rice, by contrast, insisted on maximum lighting and maximum sound amplification, creating a style of theatre that was 100 per cent conventional and reliant on artificial aids. This wasn't just the 'ostensible' reason why the Board decided she had to go -- it was the real reason, in my view.
It also became quickly apparent that her knowledge and understanding of Shakespeare and his language was very limited. While her productions of A Midsummer NIght's Dream and Twelfth Night drew a lot of audience laughs and sold out, it became fairly obvious that she would never be able to direct any of the tragedies or the histories. Her programming for the indoor Sam Wanamaker theatre left a lot to be desired. I wish her well down the road at the Old Vic next year.
I am sure that despite dire warnings of internal feuds and conflict at the Globe, Michelle Terry will be able to use her authority and experience to do a terrific job and pick up where Dromgoole left off. There are plenty of actors who will be queuing up to work with her.