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Shakespeare: The Globe Theatre

Shakespeare resources for theatre students.

The Globe

"Conjectural reconstruction of the Globe theatre based on archaeological and documentary evidence," By C. Walter Hodges of the Folger Shakespeare Library (CC By SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

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Subject Headings: 

  • Theaters -- England -- London
  • Globe Theatre (London, England : 1996-)
  • Globe Theatre (London, England : 1599-1644)

What is the Globe Theatre?

"The Globe Theatre you see today in London is the third Globe. The first opened in 1599 and was built by the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, the company that William Shakespeare wrote for and part-owned.

We think that the first play Shakespeare wrote for the original Globe was Julius Caesar in spring 1599. Later that year he also wrote As You Like It and made a start on Hamlet. Over the next fourteen years Shakespeare wrote some of his greatest plays, including Twelfth NightOthello, King Lear, Macbeth, and Antony and Cleopatra. Other playwrights wrote for the Globe during this time too, including Ben Jonson, Thomas Middleton and John Fletcher.

In 1613, during a performance of Shakespeare’s Henry VIII (co-written with Fletcher), a mis-fired prop canon caused the thatch roof to catch fire. The entire theatre burnt down within two hours, according to eyewitness reports (miraculously, no one was killed). The company rebuilt the Globe in a year – with a tiled roof. The second Globe operated until it was closed down by parliamentary decree in 1642.

In 1609 Shakespeare’s company started performing in the indoor Blackfriars playhouse as well as the Globe. It was here that Shakespeare conceived his final great plays, including The Tempest.

The current Globe Theatre opened in 1997, after many years of campaigning by the founder of the Shakespeare’s Globe Trust, Sam Wanamaker."

-- Globe Theatre Trust (click on this link to read more)



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