Globe Theatre of Shakespeare

William Shakespeare is one of the greatest writers and playwrights in English literature. He is considered as the ‘father of English literature’ because of his immense contribution to the language of English. He is often called England’s national poet and the “Bard of Avon”.[Places associated with great personalities become famous as the persons themselves.

As Shakespeare was a great playwright also, the globe theatre of William Shakespeare needs a special mention. The Globe Theatre situated in the Southward district eastwards as far as Porter Street and from Park Street southwards as far as the back of Gatehouse Square in London is associated with the great playwright William Shakespeare.

Globe Theatre of Shakespeare
Globe Theatre of Shakespeare

It remained unknown until discovered in 1989. It was not only one of the most famous playhouse’s of all time, but the playhouse where Shakespeare was able to perform many of his greatest plays. The Theatre became as famous as he was during those times.

Globe Theatre History

To trace the history of the globe theatre, commonly and in short called ‘globe’, there were several shareholders who owned their respective shares of the globe. Shakespeare himself was one of the co-owners. Two of the six Globe shareholders, Richard Burbage and his brother Cuthbert Burbage, owned double shares of the whole, or 25% each; the other four men, Shakespeare, John Heminges, Augustine Phillips, and Thomas Pope, owned a single share, or 12.5%.

As a result of these attempts, the theatre was opened in 1599. It became one of the most money-making playhouses of those times contributing much to art, literature and theatrics. The theatre is said to have been built by Cuthbert Burbage, brother of the famous Shakespearean actor Robert Burbage and son of James Burbage.

Globe Theatre of Shakespeare
Globe Theatre

As regarding the capacity and structure of the theatre, had a total capacity of between 2,000 and 3,000 spectators. There was no lighting facility availability and therefore, plays were conducted during the day time. The acoustics were poor and the actors were compelled by circumstances to shout their lines, stress their enunciation, and engage in exaggerated theatrical gestures.

Globe Theatre Facts

Why was the Globe Theatre so important to Shakespeare?

The Globe theatre was so important because Shakespeare himself owned a share in the theatre and played an instrumental role in the construction of it. Many of Shakespeare’s plays premiered in the Globe theatre and it became an integral part of the English Renaissance theatre which saw it develop and flourish.

Why was the Globe theatre called the Globe theatre?

Shakespeare’s Globe theatre is basically a reconstruction of the Globe Theatre that was situated in the London Borough at Southwark. It was an old Elizabethan playhouse for which Shakespeare used to write his plays previously. It was built in 1599 but got demolished in 1644.

Shakespeare’s Globe is a replica of the same and was constructed quite accurately but was built with keeping in mind modern safety measures. It, therefore, accommodated lass people than the original Globe Theatre did.

Globe theatre diagram
Globe theatre diagram

Where was Shakespeare’s Globe theatre?

Shakespeare’s Globe was built at the same place as the original Globe Theatre, in London by the bank of Thames river.

Who built the Globe theatre?

The Globe theatre was built by several people and Shakespeare himself had a share in it. It was owned by the people who were the members of Lord Chamberlain’s Men. The main members involved were: James Burbage, Cuthbert Burbage, John Heminges, Augustine Phillips and Thomas Pope.

Who were the groundlings in the Globe theatre?

The groundlings were the section of the audience who had to stand on the ground right in from and around the stage and watch the performance. They were very close to the stage and often left the ground littered with orange peels, nuts and ale which they consumed during the performance.

This section of the audience was a mostly illiterate boisterous crowd who went to the theatres for cheap entertainment. Sometimes, visitors complained that the pit where the groundlings stood strongly smelled of beer and garlic, so much so that no good citizen could enter there. They would pay more money to secure a seat at the back or in the balconies.

Globe theatre stage
Globe theatre stage

How much did a ticket for the Globe theatre cost?

The ticket for entering the indoor of the theatre cost 6 pence. In open-air theatres, the cheapest tickets cost 1 penny with which one had to stand in front of the stage and watch the performance. With another penny, one could secure a seat at the gallery on the ground.

Elizabethan Era Audience

The theatre had a stage which was a level platform about 43 feet in width some 27 or 28 feet deep that was raised about five feet off the ground. The theatre operated outside the jurisdiction of the city officials and bureaucracy although the same was condemned by the London authorities. The audience was well educated and mostly those sections of the population who enjoyed a high status in the society.

The plays which were performed here were Julius Caesar, were Hamlet (1600-1601), Twelfth Night Or What You Will (1601), Richard II (February 7th 1601) Troilus and Cressida (1601-1602), All’s Well That Ends Well (circa 1602), Timon of Athens (c1604), King Lear (1605), Macbeth (1606), Pericles, Prince of Tyre (1607) possibly The Tempest in 1610, The Two Noble Kinsmen in 1611, Shakespeare’s “lost” play Cardenio in 1612 and Henry VIII in 1613.

Elizabethan theatre audience
Elizabethan theatre audience

When was the Globe theatre rebuilt?

This globe theatre was destroyed by fire on 29 June 1613. A new one i.e. a second globe theatre was built on the same site by June 1614. But it was closed in 1642. However, A modern reconstruction of the Globe, named “Shakespeare’s Globe” was opened in 1997. It is built on the London Borough of Southwark, on the south bank of the River Thames.

Is Shakespeare’s Globe theatre still standing?

The original Globe theatre with which Shakespeare was involved was destroyed by fire. The reconstruction of the same, built-in 1997 is still functioning and is perhaps the most famous theatre of the United Kingdoms.

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