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Interview: Can We Tempt You With Some Tempest?

Rachel Hannah Clarke on playing The Tempest’s Ariel

What is summertime without a trip to Shakespeare’s Globe? Come rain, come shine (or helicopters), it’s always a magical experience. This season there’s an actual magician and his daughter on stage as The Tempest takes to the boards once again. We caught up with Rachel Hannah Clarke, who will be playing their spirit servant Ariel, to find out more about life on the magic isle.


The Tempest is such a fantastic play, with such memorable figures. How does it feel to be playing one of Shakespeare’s most famous and enchanting characters?

Playing Ariel is truly a dream. She is cheeky, playful, magical, loyal and sensitive and I have so much fun playing her. I love that she can be anything that she wants to be. She is invisible throughout most of the production, which is a huge part of the fun and magic. Being invisible also allows her to connect with the audience in a unique and beautiful way, which is very special.

Ariel is a spirit, rather than a human. Can you relate to her in any way yourself?

Yes. Ariel is a spirit that is full of hope. As a person of faith I try to live my life with the hope that nothing is impossible if you have faith. Ariel uses her magic to make anything possible and I love that about her.

There’s music, singing and dancing throughout the play; will you get to do much of that?

Definitely. There are lots of beautiful and wild moments of song and dance. Any opportunity to have a song and a dance – I’m here for it! These moments just bring the story to life. The band is incredible and the music really helps to release the magic of the island. It highlights the wonderful relationship and connections that the world has to offer.

You’re working with director Sean Holmes, who has brought some really exciting productions to the Globe in recent years. Can you give us any hints as to how he’s shaping up The Tempest?

I’ve had the honour of working with Sean Holmes on a few productions now at the Globe and it has always been such a joy, and forever a memorable and wonderful experience. The production is innovative, thought-provoking, colourful and full of magic at every turn. Another hit from Sean Holmes and one not to be missed.

Can you tell us anything about the costumes for the show?

The costumes are amazing. I love them. They are wacky and fabulous and really help to inform the world of magic, charm and desire. They are an array of beautiful fabrics, bold prints, pristine suits and dress up – definitely a feast for the eyes.

This is an open air performance all the way through to October: might you be needing some of Prospero’s spells to ward off any hurricanes?

The unpredictable weather is all a part of the magic and beauty of the Globe. Rain or shine the productions here always deliver and The Tempest surely is one that will not disappoint.


Thanks very much to Rachel for taking the time out of her busy schedule to chat with us. The Tempest is playing at Shakespeare’s Globe until Saturday 22 October. Sounds like it’s going to go down a storm! More details and how to book can be found here.

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About Mary Pollard

By her own admission Mary goes to the theatre far too much, and will watch just about anything. Her favourite musical is Matilda, which she has seen 14 times, but she’s also an Anthony Neilson and Shakespeare fan - go figure. She has a long history with Richmond Theatre; in Marketing, as a tour guide, archivist and volunteer, but is currently helping at Shakespeare's Globe as a steward and in the archive. She's also having fun being ET's specialist in children's theatre and puppetry! Mary insists on now being called The Master having used the Covid pandemic to achieve an MA in London's Theatre and Performance.