Globe Theatre

Infobox Theatre
name =

caption = Print, based on Hollar's 1644 Long View of London, of the 2nd Globe Theatre.
address = Park Street
city = Southwark, London
country = England
designation = "Demolished"
latitude = 51.506562
longitude = -0.094819
architect = Peter Street (carpenter)
owner = Lord Chamberlain's Men
capacity = 3,000–seated and standing
type = Elizabethan theatre
opened = 1599
yearsactive =
rebuilt = 1614
closed = 1642
othernames =
production =
currentuse =
website =
The Globe Theatre was a theatre in London associated with William Shakespeare. It was built in 1599 by Shakespeare's playing company, the Lord Chamberlain's Men, and was destroyed by fire on June 29 1613. [Nagler 1958, p. 8.] A second Globe Theatre was rebuilt on the same site by June 1614 and closed in 1642. "Encyclopædia Britannica" 1998 edition.]

A modern reconstruction of the Globe, named "Shakespeare's Globe", opened in 1997. It is approximately convert|230|m|ft from the site of the original theatre. [Measured using Google earth]


The Globe was owned by actors who were also shareholders in the Lord Chamberlain's Men. 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%. (Originally William Kempe was intended to be the seventh partner, but he sold out his share to the four minority sharers, leaving them with more than the originally planned 10%). These initial proportions changed over time as new sharers were added. Shakespeare's share diminished from 1/8 to 1/14, or roughly 7%, over the course of his career. [Schoenbaum, pp. 648-9.]

The Globe was built in 1599 using timber from an earlier theatre, The Theatre, which had been built by Richard Burbage's father, James Burbage, in Shoreditch in 1576. The Burbages originally had a 21-year lease of the site on which The Theatre was built but owned the building outright. However, the landlord, Giles Allen, claimed that the building had become his with the expiry of the lease. On 28 December 1598, while Allen was celebrating Christmas at his country home, carpenter Peter Street, supported by the players and their friends, dismantled The Theatre beam by beam and transported it to Street's waterfront warehouse near Bridewell. With the onset of more favourable weather in the following spring, the material was ferried over the Thames to reconstruct it as The Globe. [cite book |last=Shapiro |first=James |authorlink=James S. Shapiro|coauthors= |title=1599—a year in the life of William Shakespeare |year=2005 |publisher=Faber and Faber |location=London |isbn=0-571-21480-0 .]

On June 29 1613 the Globe Theatre went up in flames during a performance of "Henry the Eighth". A theatrical cannon, set off during the performance, misfired, igniting the wooden beams and thatching. According to one of the few surviving documents of the event, no one was hurt except a man whose burning breeches were put out with a bottle of ale. [cite book
last = Wotton
first = Henry
authorlink = Henry Wotton
coauthors = (quoted in Mulryne)
title = Letters to Edmund Bacon
publisher = privately published 1661
date = 1613-07-02
location = London
pages =
url =
doi =
id =
isbn =

Like all the other theatres in London, the Globe was closed down by the Puritans in 1642 after it was rebuilt in 1614. It was destroyed in 1644 to make room for tenements. Its exact location remained unknown until remnants of its foundations were discovered in 1989 beneath the car park of Anchor Terrace on Park Street (the shape of the foundations are replicated in the surface of the car park). Anchor Terrace is a listed building and only very limited excavation, consisting of three small trial pits, has been permitted within its walls. One original pier base was identified.cite book |last=Mulryne |first=J R |authorlink= |coauthors=Shewring, Margaret |title= Shakespeare’s Globe Rebuilt|year=1997 |publisher=Cambridge University Press |location= |isbn=0521599881 ]

Layout of the Globe

The Globe's actual dimensions are unknown, but its shape and size can be approximated from scholarly inquiry over the last two centuries.cite journal
last =Egan
first =Gabriel
authorlink =
coauthors =
title =Reconstructions of The Globe: A Retrospective
journal =Shakespeare Survey
volume =52
issue = 1
pages =pp1–16
date =1999
url =
doi =
id =ISBN 0521660742
accessdate = 2007-07-25
] The evidence suggests that it was a three-storey, open-air amphitheatre approximately convert|100|ft|m in diameter that could house up to 3,000 spectators. [cite web
last =Orrell
first =John
authorlink =John Orrell
coauthors =
title =Reconstructing Shakespeare's Globe
work =History Trails
publisher =University of Alberta
date =1989
url =
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2007-12-10
] The Globe is shown as round on Wenceslas Hollar's sketch of the building, later incorporated into his engraved "Long View" of London in 1647. However, in 1988-89, the uncovering of a small part of the Globe's foundation suggested that it was a polygon of 20 sides.cite journal
last =Egan
first =Gabriel
authorlink =
coauthors =
title =The 1599 Globe and its modern replica: Virtual Reality modelling of the archaeological and pictorial evidence
journal =Early Modern Literary Studies
volume =13
issue =
pages =5.1–22
date =2004
url =
doi =
id =ISSN 1201-2459
accessdate = 2007-07-25
] cite book |last=Mulryne |first=J R |authorlink= |coauthors=Shewring, Margaret |title= Shakespeare’s Globe Rebuilt|year=1997 |publisher=Cambridge University Press |location= |isbn=0521599881 ]

At the base of the stage, there was an area called the "pit", ["Britannica Student: The Theater past to present > Shakespeare and the Elizabethan Theater"] (or, harking back to the old inn-yards, "yard" [Dekker, Thomas (1609), reprinted 1907, ISBN 0781271991. "The Gull’s Hornbook": “the stage…will bring you to most perfect light… though the scarecrows in the yard hoot at you”. ] ) where, for a penny, people (the "groundlings") would stand to watch the performance. Groundlings would eat hazelnuts during performances — during the excavation of the Globe, nutshells were found preserved in the dirt — or oranges. cite book
last =Thomson
first =Peter
authorlink =
coauthors =
title =Shakespeare's Theatre
publisher =Routledge
date =1991
location =London
pages =
url =
doi =
id = ISBN 0415051487
] Around the yard were three levels of stadium-style seats, which were more expensive than standing room.A rectangle stage platform, also known as an 'apron stage', thrust out into the middle of the open-air yard. The stage measured approximately convert|43|ft|m|1 in width, convert|27|ft|m|1 in depth and was raised about convert|5|ft|m|1 off the ground. On this stage, there was a trap door for use by performers to enter from the "cellarage" area beneath the stage. [Nagler 1958, pp. 23-24.]

Large columns on either side of the stage supported a roof over the rear portion of the stage. The ceiling under this roof was called the "heavens," and was painted with clouds and the sky. A trap door in the heavens enabled performers to descend using some form of rope and harness.The back wall of the stage had two or three doors on the main level, with a curtained inner stage in the centre and a balcony above it. The doors entered into the "tiring house" (backstage area) where the actors dressed and awaited their entrances. The balcony housed the musicians and could also be used for scenes requiring an upper space, such as the balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet.


ee also

* Elizabethan Theatre


* |authorlink= |year=1958 |title=Shakespeare's Stage |publisher=Yale University Press |location=New Haven, CT |id=ISBN 0300026897

* |authorlink=Samuel Schoenbaum |year=1991 |title=Shakespeare's Lives|publisher=Clarendon Press|location=Oxford|id=ISBN 0198186185

* |authorlink=Andrew Gurr|year=1991 |title=The Shakespearean Stage 1574-1642|publisher=Cambridge University Press Press|location=Cambridge|id=ISBN 052142240X

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