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There have been several Globe Theatres in London.
- The original Shakespeare Globe Theatre (see below).
- There was a Globe Theatre (possibly named after the original Shakespeare Theatre) in Newcastle Street, that opened in 1868 and was demolished about 1902. Globe Theatre, Newcastle Street, Strand. A compact little theatre, with a semi-circular salle half below ground. It has passed through too many vicissitudes, and has been under too many different managements, to have acquired any specialty. Also known as Royal Globe Theatre and Globe Theatre Royal. See Globe Theatre - Arthur Lloyd site
- Prior to the opening of the new Globe theatre in 1997 there had also been a Globe Theatre in the West End in Shaftesbury Avenue. Originally built as the Hicks Theatre in 1906 it was renamed as the Globe in 1909 and as the Gielgud in 1995, in honour of John Gielgud.
- New Shakespeare Globe Theatre - 1997
Shakespeare's Globe Theatres
The original Globe Theatre was an Elizabethan theatre, built about 1598, in London's Bankside district. It was owned by Richard and Cuthbert Burbage. It was one of several major theatres in the area, the others being the Swan, the Rose, the Fortune and the Hope. Several of William Shakespeare's plays were originally staged there.
The Globe burned to the ground in 1613, apparently set on fire by a cannon shot during a performance of Henry VIII that ignited the thatched roof of the gallery. It was rebuilt immediately, this time with a tiled roof, and reopened in July of the following year.
The modern Globe
The new theatre is 200 yards from the original site, and was the first thatched roof building permitted in London since the Great Fire of London of 1666. The original plan was modified by the addition of sprinklers on the roof, to protect against fire.
As in the original, both the stage and the audience are outdoors. Plays are put on during the summer, and in the winter the theatre is used for educational purposes, and tours are available.
Layout of the Globe
The Globe Theatre was a three-story, 100-foot wide, open-air amphitheater that could seat around 3,000 spectators. In one of Shakespeare's plays (Henry V), it is referred to as "this wooden O" and on a woodcut of London, it appears round. On this basis, some assume the building was circular, while others favor an octagonal shape. The only contemporary theater for which the exact dimensions are known is the Fortune, which had a square floorplan.
In the middle of the open-air yard, there was a rectangular stage platform. This stage measured roughly 43 feet wide and 28 feet deep. On this stage, there was a trap door for use by performers to enter from beneath the stage. The area under the stage is known as the cellarage . There was a second trap door in the back of the stage that was used for the same purpose. On two sides of the stage were large columns called stage posts, supporting a roof over a portion of the stage. The ceiling was called the shadow, in which there was a door used by performers to enter the stage using some form of rope and harness. The back wall of the stage consisted of three doors on the first floor and a balcony on the second. At the base of the stage, there was an area called the yard where people (the "groundlings")would stand to watch the performance. Behind the yard were three levels. The first two were called the Twopenny Rooms and the top level was called the Penny Gallery. Spectators gained access to the two upper levels by staircases on two sides of the theatre. People entered the yard and the first twopenny gallery by doors in the rear end of the building.
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