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Globe Theatre

history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)1599 | construction of the first Globe

(detail)1613 | fire
The theatre burnt down.
(detail)1613 | Opening of the the second Globe

(detail)1642 | closure

(detail)1644 | demolition


This theatre was built for the troupe of William Shakespeare with a circular ground plan with the stage sticking in the front out into the open surroundings. This consisted of an arena arranged space without a roof. Cover is only provided for the spectator galleries. The theatre was hit by fire in the year 1613 and torn down thirty years later. A copy of the Globe Theatre was constructed in the year 1990 in close proximity to the original location.


"This theatre, which is always associated with Shake­speare , was built in 1599 on Bankside, Southwark, by Cuthbert Burbage  with timber from London's first playhouse, the Theatre, built by his father. It was round, with a large platform-stage with a 'tiring-house' be­hind and a thatched roof over the stage and the three galleries. Above the stage rose a tower or penthouse from which a flag was flown when the theatre was open. A trumpet was blown from there to give warning of the play's opening. A spectator entering by the one main door who paid a penny and stood in the pit was known as a groundling; a further penny would admit him to a gallery; and for a third penny he could have a seat. Stools on the stage were for privileged people, usually young noblemen who entered through the stage door at the back. In this theatre a strong company led by Richard Burbage presented most of the plays of Shakespeare for the first time, as well as those of other contemporary dramatists, their only rivals being Henslowe's company at the Fortune under Alleyn . In 1613 the Globe was burnt down after a performance of Shakespeare's Henry VIII. It was rebuilt with a tiled roof in place of the thatch which had caused the fire, and reopened in 1614. It remained in use until the closing of the theatres in 1642, and in 1644 was pulled down. The site is now occupied by a brewery. A replica of the Globe, designed by the Shakespearian scholar, Dr. John Cranford Adams, was erected in 1950 at Hofstra College, Long Island."


In: Hartnoll, Phyllis, ed. The concise Oxford companion to the theatre. 1st ed. London: Oxford University Press, 1972.   ISBN 0-19-281102-9. p. 210




Tags: Bankside theatre


Author: Hartnoll Phyllis

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