Entertainment & Arts

Shakespeare's Globe boss Emma Rice says her 'blood boils' over sexism

Emma Rice Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Emma Rice took over as artistic director of The Globe in January

Shakespeare's Globe artistic director Emma Rice has said the way people have talked about her since she took over the theatre has made her "blood boil".

Rice, who took charge of the London theatre in January, said critics did not use the same language about men.

Some of the more negative press she has received has been "extraordinary", she said, according to The Stage.

"I have had no axe to grind... but I sometimes hear language that [makes me] feel a little bit of my blood boiling."

Rice was speaking as part of a Tonic Theatre panel celebrating successful female theatremakers at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.

During the event, Tonic founder Lucy Kerbel suggested Rice had got "more [negative coverage] than most" new artistic directors.

'Thick skin'

Rice replied that she was "protected from the worst of it" because she avoids social media, and revealed she had "stopped reading reviews a little bit".

She said: "On some levels you do have to get a really thick skin, and you have to trust your instincts because there is almost nothing else."

Rice has come in for fierce criticism from some reviewers since taking over, with The Times recently publishing an article headlined: "The Globe has been a success story - and Emma Rice is wrecking it."

Asked by an audience member whether she thought loud and opinionated women attracted more criticism, Rice said: "I don't think I am loud. I think I have led an incredibly private life.

"What do you mean opinionated and loud? I'm not, I'm doing my job. And I'm doing it really well. And I've worked really hard. I haven't been fast-tracked, I'm nearly 50.

"I've spent my life making work that's incredibly complex, in a way that's very complex as well - in a traditionally female way. It's collaborative and surprising and unafraid. So I don't think I'm either of those things."

Image caption Rice took over as the Globe's artistic director in January

She also questioned whether being loud was a criticism that would be levelled against a male director.

Rice also told of her experience of dealing with a figure "pretty high up in the arts" who had referred to her as "naughty".

"I wanted to say: Who would use that word to a man?" she commented.

"I'm a very soft, feminine director, and I'm telling stories that tend to have love or hope at the heart. If you look at my canon of work I think it's extraordinary how much I've upset people."

Asked what advice she would give to directors who might receive similar criticism, Rice said: "It's really, really tough, but nobody said it was going to be easy. And there isn't an artist out there that hasn't had a bashing.

"There isn't a great artist who hasn't been destroyed at some point. So you also have to think - on some level, I've made it. I'm obviously upsetting people so enormously."


Follow us on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, on Instagram, or if you have a story suggestion email entertainment.news@bbc.co.uk.

More on this story