In 1949 Sam Wanamaker of Hollywood visited London. Being a Shakespeare fan he searched for the site of the original Globe theatre, and found nothing to commemorate it. Still concerned about the lack of honour being paid to the theatre and Shakespeare in 1970, he decided to found an organization, the Shakespeare Globe Trust, with its goal being the understanding of Shakespeare in performance.
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By 1987 work had begun, under his supervision, on a new Globe near the site of the original theatre on Bankside by the river Thames in London. The Globe Theatre is a reconstruction of the original 1599 open-air playhouse where Shakespeare worked and for which he wrote many of his plays. The theatre’s season runs from May to September, putting on works by Shakespeare and other playwrights of his time.
The seats in the theatre surround the stage on three sides and are covered. The centre of the building is open to the sky as in Shakespeare’s time. (Tickets to this stand-only area go cheap and give an authentic touch to the experience.)
Shakespeare’s Globe Exhibition, open year round, is housed in the building. Visitors will find all the details they could wish for about the current theatre, the theatre of Shakespeare’s time, and the man himself. Interactive displays, touch screens, visual panels, artefacts, sound, and live demonstrations bring the history to life. You can watch a sword fighting display on the small exhibition stage.
The exhibition is divided into several areas or themes. First is the story of Sam Wanamaker and the rebuilding of the Globe. Another area gives away how the secrets of how special effects were produced in the 1500/1600s—whether it was flying, hanging an actor, creating sound effects, or what was used to simulate blood.
A section shows how plays were printed, while in another you can hear the instruments that produced music for the plays. An interesting area has a costume display and explains the process of designing, making, and fitting the costumes.
This is a scholarly well-researched exhibition of interest to anyone studying the theatre or Shakespeare as well as playgoers.
Located on Bank St, take underground to St Paul’s cathedral, Mansion House, or Black Friars. Head to and over the Millenium bridge. The exhibition and theatre are on the south bank of the Thames, just to the left of the bridge. Or take the underground that go to the south bank of the river, Southwark or London Bridge (longer walks to the theatre.
Exhibition open daily, 9am-5pm; theatre tours 9.30-5pm; no theatre tours during shows.
Shop, café, restaurant
To book tickets for shows phone 020 7401 9919 or fax 020 7902 1475.
Website: Shakespeare's Globe