Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London

Photo of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London, England
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London, England
Photograph © London Tourist Board.
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Photo of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London, England
Photograph © London Tourist Board.
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Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
Also known as: The New Globe

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While The Bard's home theater was lost to time, his writings lived on. The words of Williams Shakespeare are so powerful and so engrained in English culture that people were compelled to rebuild the theater hundreds of years after it faded into history. The original Globe was erected in 1599, and made mostly from reeds, plaster, and timbers. Those timbers and reeds burned in 1613, and the Globe was built a second time a year later. By 1642, the wind had shifted in England. The Puritans closed all of the city's theaters, and most knowledge of the Globe was lost. Hundreds of years later historians would piece together enough information to try to recreate the venue. In 1970, the Shakespeare Globe Playhouse Trust was formed to rebuild the theater. They managed to erect it just a few hundred feet from its original location. While construction was still underway, a little bit of the foundations of the original Globe were unearthed. These helped confirm some design plans, correct others, and provide inspiration for the project. Most of the foundation, however, is under the concrete slab of an apartment building. The theater is a circular affair, often called a "wooden O." The circle is made up of 20 segments of oak beams and lime plaster. Each segment has three tiers of seating each 11 feet high. The new Globe's dimensions are close, but not an exact duplication of the building from Shakespeare's time. The new Globe is nine feet taller than the original, but the diameter of 100 feet is correct. You can use your high school algebra and pi to figure out the circumference. The dimensions are authentic, and interestingly, so is the roofing material. It is a thatched roof, made of 6,000 bundles or reeds. This is the first thatched roof in London since the Great Fire swept through the city in 1666. Since its completion, the New Globe has become one of the best known tourist attractions in the city. It has brought inspiration to a new generation of writers who now can see what Shakespeare saw, and feel what he felt looking around the theater. The reconstruction was a masterful idea, and truly an asset to London and all the world.

Quick Facts
    >1598-1599 - The original Globe Theatre is built.
    >1613 - The theater burns down.
    >1614 - The theater is rebuilt.
    >1642 - The theater is closed by the Puritains.
    >1644 - The Globe is demolished.
    >1987 - Work begins on rebuilding the theater.
    >1997 - The theater opens once again.
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There are two comments.

  Beautyfull!!! I wish to go there one day and try to feel how it was at that time. :)

Jelena - Tuesday, December 11th, 2007 @ 5:29am  

  I attended the performance at which the Queen cut the ribbon on this facility. It is wonderful to have the Globe rebuilt. The only disappointment for me, as a theatre designer and designer for the theatre, was that current London public assembly regulations allow a small fraction of the number of groundlings that would have stood for performances in the late 1500s and early 1600s. Also, on that night, the Queen appeared very dour indeed except for witnessing a bawdy joke about a horse. I was sorry for her as it was not a good time for the family and she should have enjoyed herself as much as others did on that night. The fact that there was so much floor area in the stalls was good from one standpoint because I could walk around to assume different positions during the performance of Winter's Tale and the masque that was performed. That helped me know what it was like to attend in Shakespeare's day. I am so glad that Mr. W. decided to rebuild this piece of theatre history.

Robert William Wolff - Wednesday, November 10th, 2004 @ 10:25am