Everything you need to know about… the Globe Theatre

Globe Theatre

The Globe Theatre was an Elizabethan-era playhouse part-owned by the great playwright William Shakespeare. Built from the remains of an existing theatre in Shoreditch, London, made by English actor and theatre owner Richard Burbage and his brother Cuthbert, the Globe was constructed over just a few months in 1599.

The playhouse became the home of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, a troupe of which Shakespeare and the Burbages were members. The group went on to perform many of the Bard’s most famous plays there. Reportedly, the first performance was Julius Caesar, with subsequent plays such as Richard II, Romeo And Juliet and A Winter’s Tale also shown there.

The Globe proved a great success, with its 3,000 capacity frequently tested to the limit, both in the cheap standing-only pit area as well as in the more prestigious tiered seating located around the inner walls. Unfortunately, however, on 29 June 1613 during a performance of Henry VIII, a theatrical cannon misfired and ignited the wooden beam and thatch roof, leading to the entire building burning down.

Luckily, the success of the Globe’s owners and its performances resulted in the theatre being rebuilt again in 1614, with the new playhouse continuing to host many acting troupes well after Shakespeare’s death in 1616. In fact, it was not until 1642 that the theatre was closed down – a casualty of the English Civil War.

Shakespeare's Globe

Shakespeare’s Globe is a modern-day reconstruction of the 17th-century theatre located about 230m from the original site

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