Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre might not be the original but it is as close as I could get to the world that Shakespeare created ages ago. The current Globe Theatre is built 200 meters from where the original stood but is basically a replica of what the original looked like. It is built in exactly the same way and to the same scale and you can actually come and watch theatre productions here during the summer months.
The original Globe Theatre, was built in 1599 and was unfortunately destroyed by fire on 29 June 1613. The fire was caused by an accident with a cannon during a production of Henry VIII. The theatre was rebuilt by June 1614 but was officially closed by pressure of Puritan opinion in 1642 and demolished in 1644.
We crossed the River Thames by LondonBridge among the throngs of tourists and people. On the banks of London’s Southwark, stands the roundish, three-story wooden building that is Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. As we got closer we could see that it is not exactly round, but is somewhat hexagonal in shape. The walls seem to slant a little inward, giving it the appearance of a huge thimble with six flattened sides instead of a circular surface. There are a couple of small windows and a low shabby entrance through which we walked quite excited at the prospect of seeing where Shakespeare’s plays were performed.
While learning about Shakespeare and all the fabulous plays he wrote during my high school years I never thought that I would actually be able to see where these plays were performed. What a great experience to stand inside this theatre and imagine what it must have looked like in Shakespeare’s time while they were performing here. Imagine all the people, royalty in the front rows and the actors on stage, the rowdy sellers and the carnival atmosphere that must have accompanied the shows.
During his lifetime, Shakespeare’s plays were performed on stages, in private theatres, provincial theatres, and playhouses. They were acted out in the yards of bawdy inns and in the great halls of the London inns of court. But the Globe Theatre is certainly the most well known of all the Renaissance stages associated with Shakespeare.
As we stepped into the main theatre the blue sky greeted us. The building has no roof except a narrow strip around the edge and a covering at the rear over the back part of the stage. The front of the stage and the whole center of the theatre is open. No wonder they only have shows here in the summer months. I would love to be able to watch a show here….maybe the next summer I get to spend in England.