Calais ‘Jungle’ Shakespeare Play Cut Short Due To Knife-Wielding Migrants

calais 'jungle'
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

A performance of Shakespeare’s Hamlet at the notorious Calais migrant camp known as the “Jungle” was cut short because “there were a lot of knives around,” organisers said.

Actors from Shakespeare’s Globe in London performed the play on a makeshift stage to around 250 people last week. Dominic Dromgoole, the Globe’s artistic director said it was part of “the ground-breaking tour’s ability to reach displaced people across the world”.

“The sheer scale of the refugee crisis demands a response, however small,” he added.

“It’s a great privilege to play for displaced people in Calais. As a theatre company, the only gesture we can offer is this – a show that we hope speaks to the human spirit at its greatest and its darkest moments.”

The performance was initially reported on fawningly by the media, who said it had been cut short simply due to the cold weather.

However, it has now been revealed the play was stopped due to the presence of knives among members of the audience.

Tom Bird, the Globe’s executive producer, told The Times: “People were trying to cut through to the backstage.

“There were a lot of knives around. That’s what really put me on edge. They were visible and out.”

A spokeswoman for the Globe said: “We were aware of knives being present, but this was one of several factors that led us to lightly shorten what was always going to be a shortened version of the production.”

The camp has been the site of trouble in recent months. This weekend, police and protesters clashed as members of the PEGIDA anti-Islamisation movement marched through the nearby town, carrying signs such as “This is our home”.

French politicians had tried to ban the march, but around 150 people turned up anyway to protest against mass immigration into Europe.

Around 3,700 migrants are currently living at the “Jungle” camp.

Follow Nick Hallett on Twitter: or e-mail to: