First-class theatre in a lovingly recreated Elizabethan setting
Built in 1599 and destroyed by fire in 1613, the original Globe Theatre was at the heart of London’s seedy entertainment district in William Shakespeare’s time. Here, productions were put on by the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, who included in their company Shakespeare himself. Although the theatre was rebuilt after the fire, it was eventually torn down in 1644, and as London’s entertainment centre moved west, this stretch of South Bank between Blackfriars and London Bridge was all but forgotten for generations.
Fast forward to 1997, when, after decades of campaigning led by the actor Sam Wanamaker, a recreation of the Globe opened very close to where the original had stood. With a design based on as much historical detail as could be found, Shakespeare’s Globe was intended to bring a true theatrical experience to life, plays presented in a manner as close as possible to the kind of setting and conditions The Bard would have originally written for.
The modern Shakespeare’s Globe only holds about half the capacity of the original, but you can still get a rich feel for what it was like to be a ‘groundling’ (the standing rabble at the front of the stage) when you come to see a play here, in the circular, open-air theatre.
However, a visit here isn’t just a history lesson. The theatre productions here are among the best in London. Each season (spring to early autumn) includes several Shakespeare classics, performed by a company of established and upcoming actors, while works of other writers are also programmed. The Globe also now offers performances in the recently opened Sam Wanamaker Playhouse – a candlelit indoor theatre within the Globe’s building, which presents plays in a traditional Jacobean setting. Even if you’re not attending a play, you can do the Globe Exhibition and Tour. Open all year round, the tour explores the life and work of Shakespeare and theatre in his time.
|Venue name:||Shakespeare's Globe||Contact:|
New Globe Walk
|Opening hours:||Globe Exhibition and Tour daily 9am–5pm. Closed Dec 24 and 25. (Check in advance for dates when the tour is not available.)|
|Transport:||Tube: Blackfriars/Mansion House/London Bridge|
|Price:||Exhibition and tour: £15, £13.50 60-plus, £12.50 students, £9 under-16s, free under-fives, £41 family.|
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A Midsummer Night's Dream
Romantic, magical and mischievously funny: 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' is far and away the most obvious Shakespeare play for new Globe boss/former Kneehigh boss Emma Rice to direct at the helm of the Bankside institution, and it's great that she's dived...Shakespeare Saturday April 30 2016 - Sunday September 11 2016Read more
The Taming of the Shrew
The second Shakespeare play in Emma Rice's first season at the Globe is the contentious 'Taming of the Shrew', though don't expect a trad misogynist version. With a rising star female director – Caroline Byrne – and its billing as a story of 'two sisters...Shakespeare Friday May 13 2016 - Saturday August 6 2016Read more
The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk
New Globe boss Emma Rice most certainly hasn't cut ties with Kneehigh, the cult Cornish company she made her name with: her first season at the helm includes two of their shows, both directed by her. This first, Daniel Jamieson's 'The Flying Lovers of...Drama Thursday June 16 2016 - Saturday July 2 2016Read more
The third new Shakespeare production in Emma Rice's inaugural Globe season is Iqbal Khan's 'Macbeth', riding high off his acclaimed RSC 'Othello', in which he boldly recast both Othello and Iago as black men. Ray Fearon will star as the eponymous Scottish...Shakespeare Saturday June 18 2016 - Saturday October 1 2016Read more
946 The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips
Emma Rice brings her former company Kneehigh to the Globe for the second time this summer with this big, boisterous, music-filled show adapted from a 2006 novella by 'War Horse' man Michael Morpurgo. Set during the Second World War, it follows the goings...Drama Thursday August 11 2016 - Sunday September 11 2016Read more
The Inn at Lydda
The odd show out in the Globe's summer season, this revival of John Wolfson's 'The Inn at Lydda' is the only play that's neither by Shakespeare nor Kneehigh. Based upon an allusion in the New Testament Apocrypha, Wolfson's 2000 play imagines a meeting...Drama Monday September 5 2016 - Saturday September 24 2016Read more
Famously, the only Shakespeare play Emma Rice had directed prior to taking change of the Globe was an anarchic RSC 'Cymbeline' back in 2006. So it's interesting that the play has reappeared in her first season at the Globe, albeit under a different director...Shakespeare Saturday September 17 2016 - Sunday October 16 2016Read more
The Two Gentlemen of Verona
This early Shakespeare comedy certainly isn't one of his best loved, but Nick Bagnall's co-production for the Liverpool Everyman is a rare chance to catch it. It's a riotous, knockabout affair about love and crossdressing in Italy and should hopefully...Shakespeare Tuesday September 20 2016 - Saturday October 1 2016Read more
The Merchant of Venice
This review is from May 2015. 'The Merchant of Venice' returns to the Globe for 2016, with Jonathan Pryce in the lead. Shakespeare’s Jewish money-lender Shylock, who demands his pound of flesh when the merchant Antonio is unable to pay back a loan,...West End Tuesday October 4 2016 - Saturday October 15 2016Read more
Average User Rating
4.6 / 5
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This is one of my favourite go to hotspots on a weekend. Nestled just off the yummy restaurants such as ‘The Real Greek’, ‘Zizzi’ and the craftsmanship of Borough Market and nestled neatly by the Tate Modern. The Globe offer tours, cafes and open seating as well as some of the most creative and imaginative plays from Shakespeare.
The tours are fun and informative and great for all ages.
The plays are incredible and such good value with the experience of seeing it as Shakespeare’s audience would have. It truly is a theatre experience unlike any other - I saw Titus Andronicus, standing in the 'yard' - I didn't think I'd be able to make it standing for 3 hours - but seeing a play at the globe, in the same way people did hundreds of years ago, was a highlight of our whole trip. And at 5 pounds a ticket, its got to be the best deal in town. Cheaper than a movie! You're allowed ins and outs - you could always watch the play for an hour, go down to the pub for a pint, then come back and see the big finalle (in the case of Titus, the bloodbath finally!).
If you have any interest in theatre, or Shakespeare, it is so worth it to get a taste of how things worked when he actually wrote those plays - this is how he meant for them to be performed. Also excellent tour guides for the exhibition and tour part of it.
All in all, definitely one for tourists, theatre buffs, wannabe historians, kids, adults and London peasants alike! An original one of a kind day out that will leave you inspired, informed and energized to explore all the wonderful little gems along Southbank!
For more than 400 years, we have had the amazing plays of Shakespeare - now we have the instrument for which they were written! Wonderful! :-)
Went to England in 2000 for the first time just to see the Globe - what a fantastic experience! I have been back several times and sat through 3 plays one day last July. I recommend it to everyone who is in town for more than a day or two.
WE love our visit to the Globe. The guide was fantastic. We enjoy the guided tour and love the lay out theatre. Absolutelly fantastic.
Visiting the Globe is a highlight of any trip to the capital and I recommend the standing tickets to be at the heart of the action!