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The Globe Theatre

The Globe

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is different from most other theatres in this country. This is because it is a faithful reconstruction of an Elizabethan playhouse. Elizabethan audience conditions were very different from our own, therefore watching a play at the Globe is a unique experience and unlike any that you might expect from going to the theatre or cinema today.

The difference


When we go to watch a play or a film, we are used to going into a four-sided darkened room and sitting in front of the stage or screen. When the performance starts, the lights go down and we all stop talking to watch what is happening. Although we can see them, the actors on stage cannot see us. This is not how it happens at the Globe. For a start there is no roof, so the theatre is open to the elements and performances happen come rain or shine. Sunlight lights the stage. The actors can see every single member of the audience, and even make eye-contact with them. The audience can also see each other. As soon as the actors enter the space everyone hushes to listen to the play. Nobody sits in front of the stage, instead up to 700 people stand in the yard whilst a further 900 people sit in the three-tiered galleries. The Globe is not square shaped or rectangular, but circular and sometimes the action of the play can happen above or below you, behind around and through, as well as in front of you.


History


The original Globe Theatre was built in 1599 from the timber of another playhouse called The Theatre. It is likely that Much Ado About Nothing was performed, first in The Theatre and then as part of the repertory at the Globe Theatre.


Find out more about Shakespearean theatre