What do you do at the Globe?
I am the Head of Courses and Research, based in Globe Education. I look after all of our Higher Education and conservatory programmes and head up the Library and Archives. In addition I oversee all research and scholarship for Shakespeare’s Globe as a whole. The Research department is used by all members of the Globe, from actors wanting to learn more about their characters to the Marketing department looking for appropriate quotes to use in a brochure so I am kept busy.
Please describe your typical day at the Globe.
I don’t have a typical day, thankfully! But it is dependent on the time of year. My work includes teaching Graduate students or lecturing to groups of actors in rehearsal, as well as strategizing in a management meeting and meeting with staff. I have two research leave days a week and on those days I will be researching, writing, marking or planning a course.
How did you end up where you are today?
I moved from the US and did an MA in Milton and Seventeenth century literature, then went on to do a PhD. I was always an avid follower of the Globe project. The academic input in particular fascinated me. I have been watching performances here since 1996 and in 2002 provided research advice to the makeup staff for their Original Practices production of Twelfth Night. Two years later a Lecturer post opened up in Globe Education and they hired me…!
Any highlights in your Globe career so far?
For me the biggest highlight was being asked to chair the Architecture Research Group—it seemed such a huge responsibility, and I was nervous about taking on the academic custodianship of the theatres. But it made me feel good because it meant the Globe Executive team trusted me. It is especially an honour because of the work the ARG contributed to the construction of the Indoor Jacobean Theatre.
What do you enjoy most about working at the Globe?
Being witness to the extraordinary passion and energy of the people who work here and the people who come to experience the work. From my amazing colleagues in Globe Education who tirelessly work to bring Shakespeare to young people and university students every day, to the superhuman Globe to Globe team. The funky and lively Communications team, all of our Globe Education Practioners and the actors who come in every season.
If someone wanted to get into a role like yours, what advice would you give them?
It is no longer necessary for trained scholars to move straight into university lectureships. The opportunities available in the arts are immense. To create such opportunities for oneself, a young scholar should be able to speak and write in an accessible way, broaden their scope of research and work hard to see the connections between knowledge and art.
What do you strive to achieve in this role?
I want so much to create a research culture here that lasts beyond my time with the Globe. I am working hard everyday to achieve this…
Please could you tell us a little more about your other Shakespeare related work.
I love writing about Shakespeare and have already written a book – Cosmetics in Shakespearean and Rensaissance Drama and I am in the middle of writing a book about the hand in Shakespeare- which examines the importance of the hand as a symbol for knowledge, memory and identity in Shakespeare’s England. I sit on exam boards, do lots of peer reviewing, write articles, edit book collections, give papers at conferences and seminars. Next year I have been invited to Bern to be a keynote speaker at a conference about the senses in early modern England.
Just before you go, which is your favourite play by Shakespeare and why?
Titus Andronicus. It is exciting, horrible and deeply moving.
You can follow Farah’s tweets @DrFarahKC