As job advertisements go, it is certainly different.
The search for a new artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe has taken a bizarre turn as the London theatre recruited its outgoing and former heads to say what a terrible place it can be to work.
In two postings on the Globe’s own website, billed as “open letters” to the person who will take over, Emma Rice and Dominic Dromgoole warned prospective applicants that the job can be a nightmare.
Dromgoole, who left the Globe in 2016, said the new director would have to take on the “cabals” and “connivers” who had made Rice’s life a misery.
Rice is leaving early next year after the board took exception to her experimental style, and the deadline for her replacement is looming. In her letter, she said: “Born to please, I have enjoyed a life filled with encouragement, delight and love.
“I walked into the Globe expecting this to continue but my blessed path was crossed and I had to call on my beliefs, principles and integrity for guidance. I have learnt never again to allow myself to be excluded from the rooms where decisions are made.”
She went on: “I chose to leave because, as important and beloved as the Globe is to me, the Board did not love and respect me back. It did not understand what I saw, what I felt and what I created with my actors, creative teams and the audience.
“They began to talk of a new set of rules that I did not sign up to and could not stand by.”
She was backed by Dromgoole, who spoke of “negativity” and “personality problems” within the building and said: “The fact that Emma has been stopped in fulfilling her ambitions is heart-breaking. It is also wrong.”
But he said: “I respect Emma’s choice in doing so, and I cannot respect the blocking of her choice. No-one, not committees, not cabals, not connivers, no-one can set this policy but the AD.” He advised the new artistic director to “ring-fence with iron and steel your own freedom”.
Rather than be embarrassed by the candid posts, the Globe solicited and publicised them. A theatre spokesman said: “Shakespeare’s Globe supports open conversation. The letters from Dominic Dromgoole and Emma Rice are part of that respect for free and healthy debate on its future and mission.”
The letters did also extol the virtues of the Globe, which was rebuilt a few hundred yards from its original site on London’s South Bank and opened by the Queen in 1997 under its only other artistic director, Mark Rylance.
Rice said her year at the Globe had been “the most intoxicating experience” of her life, praising the audience for providing “the heartbeat and energy of this extraordinary place”.
“The Globe deserves an artistic leader so fierce and true that they would steal a building and carry it over the river for what they believe in,” she wrote.
“The Globe will always be part of me, so know I am here for you to enjoy beer, or tears, or dancing - and believe me, there will be all three of these pleasures in this place of rare humanity.”
And one of the things she has learnt in her year at the theatre? “I have learnt to love Shakespeare.”