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Globe Theatre

alias Royal Globe Theatre
history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)1868 | opening

(detail)1870 | alteration
Rebuilt by Walter Emden in 1870.
(detail)1902 | Demolition

People

History

The Globe in Newcastle Street, Strand, was shoddily built but was nevertheless eminently neat and practical; it had a delightful atmosphere and excellent sightlines and acoustics. The dome and balcony fronts were completely circular in plan, and for the first time the dress circle and private boxes were at street level, a practice which later became general in West End theatres. The 'besť patrons walked straight in, while the stalls and pit customers descended 12 feet to their seats and the amphitheatre and gallery people climbed up. There were only 130 dress-circle seats and six boxes at the most convenient level, with 90 orchestra stall and 560 pit places below; above were 130 amphitheatre seats and bench-space for 600 in the gallery. Nevertheless, the audience had considerably fewer stairs to climb than in other theatres at the time. The Globe presented a very mean face to the street, as did its sister theatre, the Opera Comique (1870), which was built back-to-back with the Globe and was approached from the Strand through a subterranean alley under Holywell Street. These two little theatres were known as the Rickety Twins but, despite their name, neither collapsed nor burned down. The owners had hoped that the entire area would be redeveloped so that they would receive good compensation, but this did not come about until the turn of the century when the area was cleared to make way for the creation of Aldwych and Kingsway. The photograph was taken shortly before the theatre was demolished in 1902.

 

In: Glasstone, Victor: Victorian and Edwardian Theatres: An Architectural and Social Survey. Harvard 1975 p. 40

 

 

Author: Victor Glasstone

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