Thursday, 24 April 2008

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

So the “somewhere new that looks old” was the Globe Theatre on the south bank of the River Thames. This magnificent reproduction of the original 16th Century theatre is an absolute joy to look at and even better when you get inside.

With the London Pass you get the opportunity to visit the theatre, see the world’s largest exhibition devoted to William Shakespeare and take a guided tour of the semi-open air theatre.

My guide-storyteller, Emmiline, did a fantastic job of grabbing everybody’s attention and giving us all an informative and entertaining 40 minute tour. Even the children in the group stayed silent with wide eyed fascination while she spoke.

There was a rehearsal taking place on the stage and they still very kindly allowed us to access the theatre. What a bonus to actually see some wonderful actors rehearsing King Lear in front of our very eyes! On the downside, we weren’t allowed to take photographs while they rehearsed so I can only show you the outside of the building.

This is the 3rd Globe theatre to be built in the vicinity. The first one was built in Shakespeare’s time and many of his greatest works were written and performed there. Unfortunately the original Globe burnt down but was soon rebuilt. The second one was closed down by the Puritans who believed theatre bred bad behaviour- drunkenness, prostitution and theft. They were right to a certain degree!

The new Globe was constructed in the 1990s using traditional crafts and techniques to produce an authentic looking theatre with few modern additions. The auditorium and stage area are stunning. You get a real sense of how it would have been in Elizabethan times. In those days, one could stand in the pit for just 1 penny or sit for 2 pence and have a cushion for 3! Nowadays it is still pretty cheap. 700 tickets for every performance are sold for just £5 and the top price is £33 which for London theatre is incredibly cheap.

I got so carried away with the magic of the Globe that, after the tour, I found myself queuing up at the box office! The season only started last night and tonight I’m going back to the Globe to see “King Lear” in its entirety. I will, of course, write a review.

It’s hard to explain how special Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is so I highly recommend that you include it in your sightseeing itinerary and discover for yourself. The theatre season runs until October but the exhibition and tours are available all year round.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this picture is straight ......