Shakespeare's Globe

Theatre , Shakespeare South Bank
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(17 user reviews)
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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:
Address: 21
New Globe Walk
Bankside
London
SE1 9DT
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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LiveReviews|17
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Kirsty E
Tastemaker

A really impressive, historical venue. Although it has been completely rebuilt since the Shakespearean days, you can still get a feel for what would have been like to sit through an original showing of Macbeth or Romeo and Juliet. The circular, open air theatre hosts a number of performances throughout the year (mostly Shakespeare classics), all of which are portrayed by a superb cast of traditional actors. Even if you don't fancy seeing a show, it is worth a visit just for the guided tour. A fascinating and informative way to spend an afternoon.

Kritt N
Tastemaker

The Globe Theatre is an Elizabethan playhouse dating back more than 500 years in London.



OK, so the one standing today isn’t the original where Shakespeare first mesmerised his audiences (how incredible would that be?!), it is a recreation of the original not too far from where the original playhouse once stood proudly and entertained the Elizabethan masses after the original was burnt down following an accident in 1613.



Situated right beside the ever so pretty, river Thames, the Globe Theatre is very easy to get to. Take the scenic route and get off at St. Paul’s Underground Station where you’ll cross the river via one of London’s coolest bridges, the Millennium Bridge to get to the Globe.



Shakespeare's are still being performed every year and you can watch Shakespeare’s play for a measly sum of £5. Yes, really. You’ll see famous  Shakespeare brought to life by world-class actors. The only catch with your £5 ticket is you’ll be standing in the yard directly in front of the stage. £5 to see a play in an Elizabethan theatre? Standing is a small price to pay if you ask me. If you prefer to sit, expect to pay more, naturally. Start queuing as early as 45 minutes before performance time to be one of the first few to be let into the grand, old theatre and secure a great viewing spot - typically right in front of the stage at the actors feet!



Once you’re inside, take a moment to look up around the intimate surrounding to admire the old English oak beams that holds the The Globe together, the walls that were reconstructed using the same materials and construction method more than 500 years ago and the intricate paintings that decorates the theatre’s stage.



If you haven’t the time to stay for an afternoon/evening of laughter and drama, there is a museum right beside the Globe where you can get up close and personal with Elizabethan props, collections that were once used in Elizabethan theatres. Regular tours are also held where you’ll get to learn everything there is to know about Shakespeare and The Globe from the ever entertaining and knowledgeable guides.



Needless to say, this is a must-see/visit for every Shakespeare super fans. But whether you’re a Shakespeare fan or not, The Globe Theatre is an attraction not to be missed by both young and old. It’s a gem of London and one that needs to be seen with your own eyes.

Kirsty S

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 Shakespeares 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! 

Ladyvp
Tastemaker

I love this place, each production is amazing. Warning the seats can be uncomfortable and there is no rain shelter- so if it is raining bring a poncho. They have an indoor theater next door that is only lit by candlelight which I love. It is really small and personal, the one production I did go in that theater was very good. I cannot comment on the general quality of the productions, however, when you buy the tickets you can pick many titles. I did giggle a bit to myself when I received tickets that said I was countess. 

Vishaal V
Tastemaker

Stunning venue! Great location on the riverside too. Tends to show Shakespeare plays, but also has occasional other offerings for non-Shakespeare fans. There are lots of £5 standing tickets available for most shows, which are great value, However, be aware that you are not protected from the rain in these standing sections. There is a great pub nearby, called The Swan I think, where you should plan a pre- or post-show drink. 

Kai M
moderator

Great Place for Theatre, Art lovers.. Must visit and if possible watch some plays.. 

Sonny C
Tastemaker

I have never seen a production here but did the exhibition & theatre tour as a Timeout offer. I really enjoyed it. On a bright winters afternoon I was amazed how ornate & grand it is inside. It's a beautiful building. The guide was enthusiastic & entertaining & gave great insight into what it would have been like in Shakespeare's time. I'm definitely coming back in the supper to experience a play as it was intended.

Emma P
Staff Writer

We had a tour as part of a school group. The kids were so excited to be allowed on the huge Globe stage and they were encouraged by the guide to deliver a line of Shakespeare to the crowd below: 'is this a dagger which I see before me?'. They were delighting by the trap door and being able to go backstage too. There's something about this beautifully-crafted building that's magical and inspiring, even when there's no production on. The class then took part in a workshop in one of the Globe's wonderful rehearsal spaces around the corner. The same guide – Alex – led the kids through a brilliant session on Macbeth, asking them questions, experimenting with performance techniques and knowing exactly when some physical shenanigans were in order to keep the troops' concentration focussed. A brilliant and educational day out. 

Doug C

For more than 400 years, we have had the amazing plays of Shakespeare - now we have the instrument for which they were written! Wonderful! :-)

NakedPRGirl Claire
Tastemaker

A magical experience. You'll be lured into The Globe immediately with its cool, authentic design echoing the original Globe. My only word of warning is please please be careful if you're booked restricted view seats...because depending on where the actors stand, it may be no view. Also secondly if you have any problems standing for extended periods, careful with the standing tickets! Cos it's a long time. However, the setting is out of this world along the River Thames, and anything you see in The Globe is usually fabulous! You can have a nice drink inside the grounds and reserve more for the interval. If it rains and you're seated, you should remain dry, if you're standing, not so much! But on a great day, the atmosphere and the architecture inside are stunning. Enjoy.

Victoria A

Enjoyed the Tour at the globe. The guide for the tour was quite amusing and funny. Lovely place.

Leonard Fahrni

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.

Vicky

WE love our visit to the Globe. The guide was fantastic. We enjoy the guided tour and love the lay out theatre. Absolutelly fantastic.

Sa

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!

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