September 26, 2019


“If they try to burn you, may your fire be stronger than theirs, so you can burn the whole f***ing house down” (from Emilia)  

Following sell-out seasons at London’s West End and Shakespeare’s Globe, the international sensation that is Emilia, written by Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, will give voice to the incredible life of one of history’s unsung feminist heroes. Directed by award-winning kiwi director and actor Miriama McDowell and featuring a diverse cast of women, the production will sign off Pop-up Globe’s farewell season from March 4-22, 2020, before the Anthony Harper Pop-up Globe pops down for good, setting their sights on international touring seasons.


400 years ago, in Shakespeare’s London, Emilia Bassano wanted her voice to be heard. It wasn’t. Could she have been the “Dark Lady” of Shakespeare’s sonnets? What of her own poems? Why was her story erased from history? Emilia and her sisters reach out to us across the centuries with passion, fury, laughter, and song. Listen to them. Let them inspire and unite us.

Emiliaharnesses the spirit of 21st-century feminism while honouring one of the earliest advocates of the cause. Long ignored, Emily Bassano is now lauded as one of the earliest feminist authors – a poet, writer, and teacher who paid tribute to the collective strength and support of women. More than just a muse for men, her subversive, feminist spirit gets to have her story told at last. Celebrating the unsung talent of female writers, actors, and producers, the play’s company is made up only of women, with actresses playing all roles, male and female. Emilia channels the contemporary struggles of women all over the world, and her story is as relevant today as ever.

Emilia is a theatrical spectacular that “rouses its audience to a pitch of fervour” (The Guardian), and is “a firecracker of a play” (The Times). Originally written for and premiering in 2018 at Shakespeare’s Globe in London, Emiliabecame the hottest ticket in town before transferring to the West End for a critically acclaimed season earlier this year.

Pop-up Globe secured the rights for this international premiere after a year of negotiations, completing the company’s long search for the right non-Shakespeare play to produce. Delighted to farewell their Auckland playhouse with this exceptional work, the programming will make Aotearoa the first country outside of England that Emilia will run. It’s a big deal – New Zealand rarely gets the chance to be the first to receive smash hit plays ahead of the rest of the world. Emilia is set to become world famous, and its international run will start right here in Godzone.

The multi-talented Miriama McDowell returns to Pop-up Globe whānau to take the reigns as director to helm the 12 strong cast which is committed to diversity and inclusivity. Her 2017 Auckland production of Much Ado About Nothing, which reframed the Shakespeare classic through a Pacific lens, was Pop-up Globe’s most successful show and went on to perform to sell-out crowds in Melbourne for 17 weeks. Audiences can expect the same magic and creative excellence from this ground-breaking production of Emilia.

“I was so excited to read the script, that demands “boldness” when casting, to choose diversity and cast women of colour – something that I’m passionate about. As a Māori woman I want my children to see people that look like them on stage and on screen. It validates their own existence in the world. I also want to see the diversity of our country reflected in the stories we tell” – Miriama McDowell, on directing Emilia.

Playwright Morgan Lloyd Malcolm has been catapulted into the spotlight with Emilia’s incredible success. The play has been optioned as a film – which is currently in development. This young writer has had her previous work produced at the Hampstead Theatre and Trafalgar Studios and has had work commissioned for the Old Vic, Clean Break, and Firehouse Productions. She is also developing a book adapting her play The Wasp into a screenplay for Paradise City Films.

★★★★ ‘heartfelt and crowd pleasing’ – Evenng Standard
★★★★ ‘told with verve and energy. . . a stirring show’ – Metro
★★★★ ‘Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s play roars into the West End’ – The Stage

Casting has begun, so watch this space for a company announcement of some of the incredible wāhine who will come together to tell this entertaining and ground-breaking story.

EMILIA playsas part of theAnthony Harper Pop-up Globe farewell season

March 4-March 22, 2020.

Book at


Pop-up Globe aims to share the extraordinary experience of Shakespeare’s own audiences through his own work performed in the space and style of his own company.

The Anthony Harper Pop-up Globe theatre is a three-storey, 16-sided, 700-person capacity theatre. It unites cutting-edge scaffold technology with a 400-year-old design to transport audiences back in time. No matter where they sit or stand in the theatre, audience members are never more than 15 metres from the heart of the action on stage. Sometimes they’ll even find themselves in the play.

The Anthony Harper Pop-up Globe theatre will again feature all the spectacular theatrical trickery of the Jacobean era, including cannons, hundreds of litres of fake blood, and hundreds of beautiful bespoke period costume pieces specially constructed by Pop-up Globe in-house wardrobe department.


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