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Review of the Globe Theatre in London

The literary legend, William Shakespeare, left a great legacy to the world and the city of London. The greatest of memorials that a bard could have is what you see before you in the pictures below. This is the reconstructed home of many performances of the greatest English Bard's plays. It is fortunate for us plays can still can be enjoyed here today.

View from the Millennium Bridge

The reconstructed version of the round theatre, called the Globe, is a lovely building in its own right. Views of it can be gained as you pass over the Millennium Bridge, towards the Tate Modern, from St Paul's. You can also walk down South bank of the river Thames, on the Jubilee Walkway, to get a much closer look. It is difficult to get a good photograph of it however, because it is surrounded by buildings.

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London SE1 9DT

The 16th century ushered in one of the greatest eras of British theatre. Although this predated William Shakespeare, it would become centred on him. He presented most of his plays at this theatre.

History of the Building

It was originally built using timbers from London's first theatre. A fire burnt the theatre to the ground on 29 June 1613. Rebuilt after burning down and then raised to the ground by the Landlord, to be replaced by dwellings. It was finally reconstructed in modern times. Its location is close to where the original building was, but not exactly the same.

Resurrection from the Fire

In 1613, the Globe burned down. It was rebuilt on the same foundation and reopened in 1614. The Globe was then tragically torn down in 1644. When it was rediscovered, a reconstruction of the theatre took place with as much of the old plans pictures and descriptions as was possible to get hold of. This then was as authentic a recreation as was possible. It was completed in 1996, and it officially opened in 1997. The Globe theatre was more recently immortalized once again on screen in 1998 for the motion picture Shakespeare in Love.

Londons Globe Theatre

Architecture and Design

The materials used to build the Globe were originally from London's first playhouse. This was called simply; "The Theatre". It was built in 1576 and was an instant public success.

Its creators, were brothers, Cuthbert and Richard Burbage. They then constructed the Globe theatre in 1599 from the timbers of "The Theatre". It was built around a courtyard that had no roof.

Historic Evidence of the Original

Little is known about the Globe's original design. What can be learned is from maps and evidence from the plays presented there. From this evidence we think that it would have followed the following basic plan.

It was a round or polygon shape on the outside and probably round on the inside enclosing a courtyard. It probably consisted of three levels of galleries and stood about 32 feet (10 meters) high. The courtyard, called the pit, measured about 55 feet (17 meters) in diameter. The stage occupied one end of the pit.

What You Got for Your Money in the 16th Century

For the price of admission, the poorer spectators, called groundlings, could stand in the pit and watch the show. For an extra fee, wealthier patrons could sit on benches, up in the galleries.

London Theatre Land is Created

They erected the Globe in the area known as "the Bank side" on the south side of the River Thames. This was the suburb of Southwark. The location was chosen in order to separate themselves from their competitors. London's Theatre Land was starting to take shape. The industry was rapidly becoming very competitive. Competitors included the Curtain, the Rose, and the Swan theatres.