Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, London

4.5 out of 5 stars 76 Reviews

21 New Globe Walk Bankside London SE1 9DT. +00 44 (0)207 401 9919

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  • Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, London
    Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, London
    by antistar
  • Inside the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
    Inside the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
    by spidermiss
  • Shakespeare Globe Theatre, Bankside, London
    Shakespeare Globe Theatre, Bankside,...
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  • HackneyBird's Profile Photo

    To Be Or Not To Be.

    by HackneyBird Updated May 20, 2014

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    Shakespeare's New Globe Theatre, London.

    Some 200 metres from the site of the original Globe Theatre stands Shakespeare's New Globe, the reconstruction of which was initiated by American actor and director Sam Wanamaker, who formed the Shakespeare Globe Trust in 1970. In 1972 the trust was granted permission by Southwark Council to open a Shakespeare Museum on the site. For the next 20 years Wanamaker raised funds, sought sponsorship and battled with planning authorities until, finally, the first shovelfuls of earth were dug by Dame Judi Dench in a special ceremony in 1988 and the reconstruction of the New Globe Theatre could begin.

    The project's progress were hampered by a lack of funds and disputes with developers, planners, building regulators and neighbouring land owners. In spite of this, the first two bays of the theatre were completed by 1992.

    Sadly, Sam Wanamaker died in 1993 and did not see his project completed. Three and a half years after his death the reconstruction was finally finished. The theatre was opened by the Queen on 12 June 1997 and Sam Wanamaker's ashes were buried beneath the stage.

    The building is as true to the original as was possible to make it. Traditional building methods were painstakingly researched. Green oak was cut and shaped as was the custom in the 16th century, oak laths and staves were plastered with a mixture of lime putty, sand and goat hair and the walls painted in a white lime wash. The roof is made of water reed thatch and has been treated with a fire retardant and fitted with a sprinkler system to meet 21st century building regulations. The theatre can hold a maximum of 1,600 people, 600 of which stand in the open yard in front of the stage.

    Although the New Globe's reconstruction was supported by grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Art's Council among others, the theatre is now self-supporting. In addition to the seasons ticket sales (the season runs from May to September) revenue is generated by the Shakespeare's Globe Exhibition (open all year round and located in the theatre's under-croft), guided tours, workshops and school and college education programmes.

    The Globe Theatre Company performs plays by Shakespeare and other playwrights of his time, as well as specially commissioned new works.

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    Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

    by Drever Written May 2, 2014

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    We had a guided tour of the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, which we wouldn’t have missed for the world. That the theatre is here at all is all down to Sam Wanamaker, an aspiring actor. He worked for 20 years until his death to raise funds to re-create the theatre. Finally in 1997 a replica of the theatre built in 1599 but burnt down in 1613 opened in Bankside as close to the original site as possible. Shakespeare chose this area because it was outside the jurisdiction and controls of London.

    The Theatre is now a centre for the study of the great Bard and a celebration of his life and works. Craftsmen used the material and techniques used in building the original in Elizabethan times. The green oak timbers provide a link back to Shakespeare's time, as some were then saplings. Only joints cut into the timber and wooden pegs hold them together. Lime, sand, and goat's hair plaster face up the walls and the roof is thatched.

    The new Globe isn't an exact replica, seating 1,500 on wooden benches in the ‘bays’ with 500 ‘groundlings’ standing and not the 3,000 who originally squeezed in. Its thatched roof treated with a fire retardant won’t catch fire. A spark from a cannon fired during a performance ignited the thatch on the original and burned the theatre to the ground. A boy curious about the spikes now arranged along the roof of the building wondered if they were for the heads of actors who forgot their lines as he had seen spikes at the Tower of London formerly used for mounting severed heads. The Globe spikes are more mundane being water sprinklers!

    The open-air Globe Theatre offers performances only during the summer season from mid-May to mid-September. Performances take place at 2pm as in the original theatre but with flood lighting added can now take also place in the evenings. As in Shakespeare's day the ‘groundlings’ surround the stage and can make their feelings about the performance crystal clear to the actors. With few props or furniture and no theatrical lighting or scenery, clothes are the Globe’s chief visual effect. These have to withstand the closest scrutiny from the audience.

    The Shakespeare's Globe Exhibition housed in the Under Globe offers a comprehensive coverage of the Elizabethan theatre construction and its dramas. On display are clothes such as those worn in The Tempest. Other exhibits give a glimpse of the many crafts used in making the actors clothes and in cleaning and preserving them. Also there are occasional displays and workshops, some aimed at children.

    When we visited a fair to commemorate the Great Frost Fair of 1621 held on the frozen waters of the Thames close to the Globe was in progress. A miniature of the actual 1621 Fair itself showed how it must have looked.

    OPEN: Exhibition and viewing daily 10-5. Tube: Mansion House, then walk across the Millennium Bridge.

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    The Globe

    by cleocat Written Feb 12, 2014

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    Inside the Globe
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    The history of the Globe theatre is fascinating and a tour here will give you a good idea of theatre in the Elizabethan, and ultimately Shakespeare's time, was like. Take time to do the tour and look at the exhibition and transport yourself back to the 16th century.

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  • spidermiss's Profile Photo

    Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

    by spidermiss Updated Nov 10, 2013
    Shakespeare Globe Theatre, Bankside, London
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    The site of the Globe Theatre goes back to the 16th Century but only lasted until 1642 when the site was used for tenements. Sam Wanamaker's aim was to rebuild a replica of the original globe theatre and in 1996 the theatre was completed. Sadly Sam Wanamaker died in 1993 soon after the site had been secured and the foundation work had just been completed. The Globe Theatre was officially opened in June 1997.

    You can read more about the theatre's history via the official website

    The Globe Theatre hosts Shakespeare plays on a seasonal basis and others by different writers which are performed by the in house company. Occasionally the theatre receives visiting companies. The theatre has an exhibition and tours are offered throughout the year - I yet haven't done either of those things but will update this tip when I do.

    I paid a visit in June 2013 where I saw a production of Macbeth which I thoroughly enjoyed. You can read about my account via this link.

    It's worth visiting Shakespeare's Globe Theatre whether it's to see a play or do a tour.

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    Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

    by antistar Written Jul 7, 2013

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    Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, London

    Such a good idea it's incredible nobody thought of doing it before. Actor Sam Wanamaker, veteran Shakespeare actor and Hollywood star, made it happen, although it took nearly 30 years. The story of the theater's creation was such an epic fight against bureaucracy it could be a move itself. The local council, whose efforts to commemorate the theater was nothing more than a rusting plaque on a disused brewery, was utterly hostile to the project. It got built, eventually, but not until several years after Wanamaker died.

    The story is reflected in the fate of the original Globe Theater, which ran for 45 years, bringing happiness to thousands, before it was finally shut down in 1644 by joyless Puritans who later, under Cromwell, would also ban Christmas.

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    The Globe Theatre

    by Balam Written Mar 12, 2013

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    As we continued to walk along the South Bank we passed the Globe Theatre, We did not have the time to look around the inside as we were heading for another (and original) haunt of Shakespere but hopefully i will get to explore it at a later date. I have seen some pictures of the inside and it does look really good.

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    Tour Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

    by toonsarah Updated Mar 11, 2013

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    An evening at the theatre is of course a “Nightlife” activity, but did you know that you can also visit the Globe Theatre for a tour during the daytime? This is hugely enjoyable, and you learn so much at the same time about the theatre of Shakespeare’s day.

    Firstly you visit the Globe Exhibition, which explores the life of Shakespeare, the London he lived in, and the theatre of his day. You will see Elizabethan costumes and Renaissance instruments. You also learn about the construction of both the original Globe Theatre and this modern-day version. The exhibition has been greatly extended in recent years so even if you've been before you'll find plenty to interest you. You can have an audio tour gadget at no extra charge (and as well as English, these are available in French, German, Italian, Spanish and Japanese). And your ticket is valid all day, so if you prefer to do the tour before visiting the exhibition that's fine too.

    Next, you will be taken on a tour of the theatre itself. When I went with friends for the first time, a few years ago now, our guide was one of the theatre company’s actors, and he enhanced our tour with an account of the challenges of mounting productions in this unique space, and with our own private recital of Hamlet’s soliloquy! On my more recent visit (with VT's Regina1965) our guide was not an actress, but was very good just the same.

    In the summer when there are matinee performances the tours don't run after about midday, but you can still visit the exhibition (at a reduced charge) or choose to go instead to the the Rose Theatre archaeological site to view the remains of the earliest theatre in Bankside, where some of Shakespeare’s earliest plays were performed. The Rose tour includes the Bankside area, allowing you to imagine this area during Shakespeare’s lifetime.

    The exhibition and tour cost £13.50 for adults, £12.00 for seniors (60+), £11 for students (with valid ID) and £8.00 for children (5-15). A family ticket, covering up to 2 adults & 3 children costs £36.00. Prices are reduced on those days when the theatre cannot be visited and the Rose is substituted. Pre-booking, on the phone number below or online, is advised – both to guarantee admission, but also to confirm that the theatre itself will be open.

    Update March 2013: information updated (including prices), new photo added

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  • mikey_e's Profile Photo

    Recreated recreation

    by mikey_e Written Dec 13, 2012

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    Despite the similarities, Shakespeare’s Globe is not the same theatre in which the bard’s works were performed. It is a reconstruction of the theatre, according to scholarly accounts and estimations, that was opened in 1997 on the same site as the original construction. The Globe was the brainchild of the American actor Sam Wanamaker, who wanted to recreate the theatre that stood on this plot during Shakespeare’s life, which was, incidentally, destroyed in 1614 by a fire. The theatre, like many other theatres of the time (and similar to the theatres that were built by the Romans) has a stage that is thrust out into the centre of the structure, and raked, stadium-like seating for the spectators. The Globe offers visitors both theatrical spectacles and tours, as its faithful reconstruction of the Globe theatre as it might have stood at the end of the 16th century is worthy of touristic interest in and of itself. It also helps encourage the artist and architectural diversity that is so evident all along Bankside.

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    The Third Globe

    by davidjo Written Dec 6, 2012
    LIKE THE  ORIGINAL
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    Found on the South Bank near Southwark Bridge, the reconstructed Globe Theatre associated with William Shakespeare opened in 1997. The original theatre constructed in 1599 by Shakespeare's Playing Company burnt down in 1613 but by the following year a new one stood in its place, which actually closed down 29 years later to make room for a housing project. The new Shakespeare Globe was reconstructed like the original made entirely from English Oak with mortise and tenon joints and has the only thatched roof in London as they were banned after the Great Fire of London.

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    Shakespeare globe theatre

    by didier06 Written Oct 9, 2011
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    It's a reconstruction of the globe theatre, an Elizabethan playhouse destroyed by fire in 1613, rebuilt in 1614 and finally demolish in 1644.

    When we decided to stay a few days in London, we wanted to visit this theatre, but rather than just visiting, we have chosen to book tickets for a play.

    We saw a performance of "Dr Faustus" and we were delighted, the actors were excellents and most played 2 or 3 roles, the staging was without dead-time and with some imagination one can imagine being in the past when shakespeare was playing .

    standing in front of the stage cost 5 pounds
    seats are more expensive and don't forget the cushion (1 pound)

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    The New Globe

    by viddra Updated Aug 31, 2011

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    Southwark is the entertainment centre, the location of Elizabethan theatres.

    The 1st Globe Theatre was constructed in 1599 by English actor Richard Burbage in partnership with Shakespeare and others, but was destroyed in 1613 during a performance of Shakespeare’s Henry VIII.

    The New Globe is 180 metres from the exact place where Shakespeare’s theatre stood, and was built with the same materials and building methods. Like the original, it’s a round building, 3 storeys high, with a wooden frame and plaster walls. A thatched roof leaves the middle of the theatre open to the sky.

    The New Globe opened in 1997, and is used from May to September for performances of plays both by Shakespeare and other playwrights of his time. Performances take place in the daytime, as in Shakespeare’s time.

    By the way, there are guided tours every half hour (the last tour is at 4.30pm):
    Mon-Sat: 9am-12.30pm and 1-5pm,
    Sun: 9-11.30am and 12-5pm

    Ticket fee (August 2011):
    Adult: £10.50
    Child: £6.50
    Student and Senior: £8.50

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    The 'Globe' a metaphysical space.

    by sourbugger Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Globe theatre

    The re-creation (it is not a replica) of Shakespere's Globe theatre is a real must see if you have ant artistic, literary or cultural leanings in your soul.

    The Guided tour is well worth taking, a refreshingly well presented informative and non-cliched affair.

    It was fascinating to hear an explanation about how the whole stage area works as both a physical and a metaphysical space - something which I had never realised before.

    The stage itself is the 'earth', and inded Shakespere famously said that "All the world's a stage". Trapdoors allow entry to a watery netherworl on the same level as the great unwashed watching in the pit. Meanwhile devices can be used to transport players up into the 'gods' the area above the stage. Once you understand this, the underside of the stage ceiling being painted with clouds and stars makes perfect sense.

    When you add in the fact that the whole thing is called 'the Globe' (as in a world or universe) and it is circular in shape, thaen the thinking that went into its construction is just a bit on the impressive side. This is all the more true because the original theatre would have been erected in a matter of months - and on budget too !

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    Nearly Shakespere's globe

    by sourbugger Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Sam Wanamaker, that American impressario was the driving force behind re-creating one of the Theatres that Shakespere himself used on the modern South bank.

    They have done a fine job, although it tour (highly recommended in my book) makes it clear that this is a re-creation rather than a replica. For a start, to fit with modern health and safety requirements it has more door than the original and those illuminated 'Fire exit' signs. It is also not exactly on the same site as the original.

    The Globe in Elizabethan time would have been knocked up cheaply in a matter of months, but this edifice has taken years of painstaking work and several very large wads of cash.

    On the outside, the modern stucture has exposed beams but this is proabably not how it would have looked. We tend to have an image in our minds of what such a building should look like - and we want it that we. Inside, there is a similar story - the seats are very plain and simple so the attention is firmly fixed on the stage. All sorts of lurid adornments would have been common in the past. The pit too is now a concerete surface - they didn't have bags of blue circle readymix then.

    The stage area is authentic enough - but it doesnt allow the audience to buy seats on the stage itself or on a balcont behind. This was common practice in Shakespere's day and must have cost a fortune.

    Having said all that, seeing Shakespere here is probably the closest thing you will find on the planet to what the experience would have been when Southwark was the Shaftsbury ave / Broadway of it's day.

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    Shakespeares Globe

    by BluBluBlu Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    This is a scale replica of the Globe. Its not in its exact spot...but close. The best way to appreciate this is to book to see a play being performed...as you;ll recreate the feeling of early english theatre performances...other than that its a replica!

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    Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

    by easyoar Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

    Shakespeares Globe Theatre is right against the banks of the River Thames. You get a great view of it if you walk over the Millennium footbridge over the Thames from St Pauls Cathedral.

    This is not original however, even if it looks very old. It is a very carefully built reconstruction made out of wood and is circular in shape as the name suggests.

    Plays are actually held here, and although they are only held in the summer (there is a hole in the roof, so it may get a bit cold in winter), if you like Shakespeare, it is well worth trying to get a ticket (se the website below for more info) as they tend to use very good actors here.

    There is also a visitors centre next door which has a permanent exhibition of William Shakespeare's work and the times he lived in.

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