Dromgoole spins to Shakespeare’s Globe

New artistic director succeeds Rylance

LONDON — Dominic Dromgoole, the director who has doubled as theatrical commentator in such contentious books as “The Full Room,” was named Friday the new artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe. Succeeding Mark Rylance, he’ll become only the venue’s second a.d., starting in January.

Dromgoole, the onetime artistic director of west London’s enterprising Bush Theater and head of the touring Oxford Stage Company for the last seven years, is a somewhat surprising choice for the job, being neither an actor-manager in the Rylance mode nor someone particularly known for his work in the classics.

When Dromgoole joined Peter Hall in 1997 during Hall’s single-year occupancy of the Old Vic Theater, the younger director was put in charge of a new-play series that included the London preems of such works as “Hurlyburly.”

Speculation had centered around people known primarily for their acting, such as Samuel West, who has since gone on to run Sheffield Theaters in Yorkshire, or even Zoe Wanamaker, daughter of the late Sam Wanamaker, who was the American visionary behind the Globe. The names of thesps Simon Russell Beale and Kenneth Branagh also were bandied about.

In a statement, Globe chief executive Peter Kyle said: “I know Dominic to be a wholly committed man of the theater, with a passion for Shakespeare and a strong desire to engage with what he has described as ‘the maverick energy’ of the Globe.”

The theater’s 2005 summer season kicked off this week with Rylance in a drastically pared-down version of “The Tempest,” which has received mixed reviews.

Dromgoole, 41, is currently represented on the West End by the starry revival of “Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me,” with Jonny Lee Miller, Aidan Gillen and David Threlfall. He recently wrote about the relationship of theater people to critics in the Guardian, advising directors left reeling from bad reviews to get into fights. “If you get a bad review, write a vicious letter back to the critic.”