The Globe Theater Joseph orso Period 1

The Globe theater is historically and currently significant because of it's architecture and it's use for Shakespearean plays. "It is important that we understand Shakespeare's theater because it influenced how he wrote his plays. Shakespeare took the theater of his time, and he used it brilliantly" (Anderson, Robert). The Globe Theater, originally ". . . built by carpenter Peter Smith and his workers, was the most magnificent theater that London had ever seen and built in 1597 -1598. This theater could hold several thousand people!" ( Additionally in 1599, "The brothers Cuthbert and Richard Burbage" (Seidel, Michael.) also did construction on it. Unfortunately , The Globe burned down in 1613 however, it was rebuilt in 1614. The Royal Shakespeare Company took over The Globe and performs plays from the Shakespearean era. The Royal Shakespeare Company was founded "March 20, 1961" (Hall, Peter) and "Chartered [the] name of the corporation and [then] the Stratford Theatre become the Royal Shakespeare Theatre" (

(Burce, Michelle) This is a drawing of the old globe and how pact it could be during the week.

According to Seidel, "The Globe was round or polygonal on the outside and probably round on the inside" It was built to create what is called an amphitheater which allowed for all spectators to hear the play clearly. "In his play Henry V, Shakespeare called his theater a "wooden O""(Anderson, Robert). Additionally, "The design and Architecture of the Globe Theater had to be a combination of practical use, economy and the aesthetic design!. . . The Globe Theater architecture reflected the styles used during the Elizabethan era. The features of The Globe Theater architecture included distinctive elements: The Black and White Half Timbered style, Vertical and diagonal timbers, Overhanging first floors galleries, Pillared porches, Thatched roofs" ( The Globe's architecture was specific, unique, and magnificent.

(Reilly Merryl) This is showing main parts of the theater and how the upper class would see the play.

The Globe's roof was used to preserve the actors costumes. "The stage was large, and extended into the middle of the yard, so there were people on three sides." (Education, Globe. EBSCOHost). It also had three layers that represented the parts of life: Heaven, Hell, and Earth. The stage was constructed to allow for play productions on the front and had a break room for the actors on the other side. The Globe Theater may be the most memorable from Shakespeare's time although there was another which was similar in design called The Swan Theater.

The current Globe Theater was based in part on the design of The Swan due to there not being any authentic pictures that survived the fire of The Globe. Although the Globe was beautiful it was changed on special occasions into a gambling house and a brothel. "The exterior appearance of the Globe can only be pieced together from sketches of the theater found in sweeping Elizabethan city scenes, and the interior appearance from the drawing of the Swan Theater. From these images we can describe the Globe as a hexagonal structure with an inner court about 55 feet across. It was three-stories high and had no roof. The open courtyard and three semicircular galleries could together hold more than 1,500 people."(

( This is a birds eye diagram of The Globe Theater showing how the seating arrangement was set.

At Shakespeare's Globe, his plays were diverse enough to appeal to and accommodate the education levels of lower, middle, and upper class people. "All of these people would seek entertainment just as we do today, and they could afford to spend money going to the theater" (Burce, Michelle). Admission fees to the Globe were fairly cheap by today's standards - only 1 penny and up to £1, which would allow you to see Shakespeare's: Henry part 1-8, Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, and many more. The most popular plays for the upper and educated class to see were Hamlet, Macbeth, and Julius Caesar. The lower, less educated class, referred to as "groundling's," did not always comprehend the jokes and preferred comedies like: All's Well That Ends Well, As You Like It, and Two Gentlemen of Verona. (Burce, Michelle)

The Globe continues to celebrate Shakespeare in the present day with outstanding performances by The Royal Shakespeare Company. According to an article in the L.A. times, "Shakespeare's Globe in Britain has announced that it is aiming to bring "Hamlet" to every country in the world as part of a tour beginning next year that will celebrate the 450th anniversary of the Bard's birth" (Ng, David). The great tradition of theatrical performances at The Globe are carried into the future through events such as this.

( This is the new globe after it was built in present day after it had burned down.

The Globe Theater was a masterpiece in the eyes of 15th century observers and now in the 21st century is still one of the foremost Shakespearean theaters. From the architecture to the stage it is one of the most magnificent and well made theaters to ever be built, re-built and remain standing.

( This is and audience view of the stage from the inside of The Globe Theater.


Created with images by Peter Glyn - "Globe Theatre"

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