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  • Jay Schmidt

Treading the boards at the Globe!

Updated: May 18, 2022

After a cup of tea along the Thames, I managed to get a tour of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. The original theatre is famous as the venue of William Shakespeare's plays (1599).

The tour lasted approximately 40 minutes. The guide took us into the theatre and we saw the actors getting ready for a performance that afternoon.

This theatre stands only yards away from Shakespeare's original Globe Theatre and has been rebuilt to be as similar to the original Globe as possible.

This is the third Globe Theatre. This theatre was officially opened 1997. The shape is an icosagon (20 sided polygon) and it can hold 1570 people (700 standing).

The twelve signs of the zodiac are painted on the roof over the stage called 'The Heavens'.

Built from oak beams, lime plaster walls and a water reed thatched roof. It is the only thatched roof building in London. The plaster walls help with the acoustics so the sound travels around the theatre. We could clearly hear the actors warming up on stage.

The Globe is a fair weather destination and is only open for performances during certain times of the year (not Winter) . Without a roof audiences need to dress for the weather! If you want a cheaper ticket to watch a performance then you need to stand in 'The Pit' (the standing area at the foot of the stage). In the original Globe Theatre, audiences could get a ticket for as little as a penny enabling theater to be open to the less wealthy citizens.

On June 29th, 1613 during a performance of Shakespeare's Henry VIII some small canons were fired using real gunpowder and the roof caught alight. Luckily someone threw some beer over the flames - no-one was hurt!

This theatre is really remarkable and definitely worth a visit. When the guide takes you through 'The Pit' to see the timber frame columns and sky overhead, it really takes you into the era of Shakespeare and theatres at that time.

I hope to go to a performance next time to experience this unique theatre even more.

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