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Shakespeare's Globe

Posted on August 16, 2015 at 9:10 AM

As promised in my previous blog post, let's tour together Shakespeare's Globe, but first, some trivia about Globe and Shakespeare:

  • Shakespeare was a part of the resident troupe of the Theatre in Shoreditch, a playhouse which was built in London.
  • When the Theatre's actor-manager James Burbage died, Globe was built, and Shakespeare was one of the four actors who bought a share.
  • Globe staged many of Shakespeare's plays, but in one of the performances-- Henry VIII-- a stage cannon ignited the thatched roof, burning down the whole structure.
  • It could be that Shakespeare acted in the second Globe that was rebuilt soon after it caught fire although it is not very certain whether he wrote for it.
  • I asked our tour guide and learned that the Globe theatre that stands now was not the one used in the Hollywood film "Shakespeare in Love" that starred Gwyneth Paltrow. 

Now, let's start the tour. From the museum, we went out to head to the courtyard where there were people's names engraved on the ground, a concept similar to Hollywood's Walk of Fame. The names, however, were those of people who donated to the Globe Project, to help resurrect the playhouse after hundreds of years.

From there, we passed by this part of the playhouse. See how these details are captured in the cardboard diorama sold in the Museum Shop, which I share as well in this post.

Below is a close-up shot of the colourful stage.

Apart from our group, another group was having a tour as shown in the photo below while some stage production crew of "Cleopatra" were fixing things up.

The guy in black shirt was our tour guide/ docent. We stayed first on level 3 of the theatre. 

Enjoy the details of the theatre's design.

In the trivia part of this article, I mention how the first theatre was burned down when it caught fire because of the stage cannon that hit the thatched roof. The current Globe brought back the same material after its management secured a special permission when it was reconstructed, a few hundred meters away from its original site, in 1997. 

This is on level 3 of the theatre where the titled and elite members of the society, back in the day, would sit to enjoy a play. The red seats and the classical paintings that adorn the walls signify the difference from the rest of the other seats in the playhouse.

"Cleopatra" just finished off shortly before we entered the venue. This blood-like thingy was used in one of the violent scenes in the play.

Depending on the financial standing of the theatre goers, people would occupy any of the three levels in Shakespeare's days. For those who could not, they simply stood on the ground floor of the theatre, similar to how some of the guests did in this photo, and watched hence being called the "groundlings."

After the tour, we went out of the venue via the exit from the ground floor and the East Tower door, respectively.

Alright, now my loot from that visit.

Above is the assembled Globe model kit. Below is a top view of the model. I use this as one of my teaching tools in my Drama class, especially when I discuss with my students Shakespeare and the history and development of English theatre. 

It came, of course, with a souvenir guide.

Some other stuff included a nice poster entitled "Quoting Shakespeare"...

And a fridge magnet of the famous "Hamlet" line "To be or not to be, that is the question"....

In that year, Globe was celebrating its 450th year thus the lectures as shown in this poster.

My visit was very fruitful, but in as much as I wanted to linger I had other things to do as well. On my way out to check next an on-going exhibit of Matisse's paintings, I passed by this wall again and a nice poster for "King Lear."


Categories: Education, Theater, Literature

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