The Globe Theatre is the most famous of Shakespeare’s many performance spaces. When we think of Shakespeare, we picture him delivering soliloquies in front of a packed house, with the thatched roof of the Globe looming above. But Shakespeare didn’t just perform through one venue; he was a wandering player and actor who frequently toured, playing in different indoor and outdoor venues all over England. The Globe was not the first or last, playhouse that Shakespeare performed at. The history of his theatrical performances is full of fascinating details about how and where his plays were performed. Here we look at some interesting facts about William Shakespeare and the Globe Theatre to help you understand more about this famous playwright and his performances...
When was the Globe built?
The Globe Theatre was built in 1599. The first Globe was built by the Chamberlain’s Men, a theatre company that Shakespeare was part of. It was the second Globe Theatre to be built on the Bankside in Southwark, near the original theatre, which had been standing for around 30 years. The first Globe was built in 1576. The first Globe was built with a thatched roof and was made out of wood and wattle. The second Globe was made from a combination of wood and iron. The theatre was designed to be large enough to hold 2,000 people, with each audience member sitting on an upturned wooden barrel.
Why was it built?
The second Globe was built because the owners of the theatre, the Chamberlain’s Men, wanted to expand. They had been growing in popularity since the first Globe was built and the owners wanted a larger space in which they could house both indoor and outdoor performances. The second Globe was built on the same site as the first theatre. The architects saw no need to change the location of the theatre, as the area was already well-known as a place for theatrical performances. The second Globe was built with a thatched roof, but it was made more robust than the first theatre, to withstand the elements for longer.
Who owned the Globe Theatre?
The first Globe Theatre was built and owned by a man named James Burbage. He was a theatre manager and actor, who saw the potential in building a theatre in Southwark. The Burbages were a successful family of actors and managers in the Elizabethan era. They owned several theatres in London, including the Globe. In 1613, the company that owned the Globe was called “The King’s Men”. This was because James I had ascended to the throne in 1603, and he had been a patron of the theatre company since 1596.
What did the building look like?
The Globe was constructed with a round design. It had a diameter of 50 meters, with 3 meter wide entrances. The inside of the theatre was split into three sections: the pit, the balcony, and the roof. The pit was where the poorest members of society sat: laborers, street vendors, and anyone else who couldn’t afford anything better. They were packed in together and had to stand up to watch the performance. The balcony was where the middle-class members of society (like lawyers, doctors, and other professionals) sat. The rich and royal members of society sat on the roof, which had the best view of the stage.
How much did the tickets cost?
The price of admission varied depending on the seating location. The cheapest seats were in the pit, where people paid one penny. The next most expensive seats were on the balcony and cost two pennies. The seats on the roof cost six pennies. The rich members of society, who had the best seats in the house, probably thought little of spending six pennies on a seat. However, poorer members of society may have had to save up to be able to afford a ticket.
Why was the Globe destroyed?
The second Globe burnt down in 1613. The cause of the fire is unknown, but it’s possible that it was an act of arson. The theatre reopened in 1614, built from the same design as the old Globe. The second Globe was standing for only five years before it was destroyed in 1619 by the bubonic plague. The authorities decided to burn the theatre down to prevent the disease from spreading. The third Globe Theatre was built in 1622. This was a reconstruction of the original theatre, not a new building. The third Globe burned down in 1665 and was not rebuilt.
The Globe Theatre was a playhouse that was built in 1599. It was the second Globe Theatre to be built on the Bankside in Southwark, near the original theatre, which had been standing for around 30 years. The first Globe was built in 1576. The owners of the theatre, the Chamberlain’s Men, wanted to expand. They had been growing in popularity since the first Globe was built, and they wanted a larger space in which they could house both indoor and outdoor performances.