Mark Rylance to return to The Globe in acting roles
Former artistic director of The Globe, Mark Rylance, will return to the venue in 2012 to star in two plays.
The 51-year-old will take the title role in Richard III, and play the alluring Lady Olivia in Twelfth Night.
It will be his first official engagement at the theatre, situated on London's South Bank, since 2005.
Rylance is currently starring in the West End production of Jerusalem. His portrayal of Johnny Byron has earned him both an Olivier award and a Tony.
He was the first artistic director of The Globe, stewarding the venue through its opening in 1995, acting and directing in plays every season for 10 years.
During this time, he took the role of Olivia in the all-male production of Twelfth Night which is being revived for his return, and became known for his willingness to explore Elizabethan theatre practices.
Since his departure, he has insisted that Shakespeare did not write the plays attributed to him, signing a Declaration Of Reasonable Doubt (run by The Shakespeare Authorship Coalition) with actors including Jeremy Irons and Derek Jacobi.
He also expressed concern about the way the plays are studied in classrooms, telling The Independent: "His intentions are for the stuff to be play-acted".
"I don't think he was particularly concerned initially about it being read. To me, the work is about the relationship of the emotions and the mind. If you just read them you are really only getting the mindful part of it."
Rylance's return to The Globe comes as part of the theatre's recently-announced summer 2012 season.
Subtitled The Play's The Thing, the season will launch with Jamie Parker playing Henry V and close with a new staging of The Taming Of The Shrew, directed by Toby Frow.
Current artistic director Dominic Dromgoole said Rylance's roles would provide a "fitting climax to an extraordinary summer".
"It was the Globe's greatest stroke of good fortune to have Mark as its first artistic director - an actor of great distinction, and a leader of rare imagination," he added.
"No-one has contributed more to the success of the Globe than Mark, and we all - actors, artists and audiences - play happily within the conditions he created."
The Globe's summer season will follow immediately after a series of international, multi-lingual Shakespeare productions, labelled Globe To Globe, which form part of the Cultural Olympiad.
All of Shakespeare's plays will be performed, with sign language, hip-hop and Maori amongst the fresh presentations on offer.