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 South London entertainment district in William Shakespeare’s time. Here, productions were put on by the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, who included in their company old Bill himself.
Fast forward to 1997, when, following a decades-long campaign run by the late American actor Sam Wanamaker, Shakespeare's famous wooden 'O' was recreated near its original site, using timber, thatch, and immaculately researched Elizabethan detail. You can get to grips with this theatre's history at its daytime tours, but there's a lot to be said for experiencing it in action. The venue's popular 'groundling' tickets invite punters to stand in front of the stage for just £5, or there's an option to get a more comfy view of the action from galleried bench seating. This outdoor space is closed in winter. But more recently, Shakespeare's Globe added the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse – a candlelit indoor theatre within the Globe’s building, which presents plays in a traditional Jacobean setting.
Artistically, there’s a commitment to the Bard, but within that it’s one of London’s liveliest and occasionally most controversial theatres.
Founding artistic director Mark Rylance led from the front: one of the world’s great actors, he still returns now and again. Just don’t ask him about whether he thought Shakespeare wrote all his own plays.
Dominic Dromgoole, the longest serving artistic director, had a reputation for being somewhat combatitive, but ushered in something of a golden age for the theatre, and oversaw the completion of the indoor Sam Wanamaker Playhouse that allowed programming to go year round.
Emma Rice brought two scintillatingly good seasons of work to the Globe before she was forced out by the theatre's board, who were annoyed at her propensity for using amplified light and sound in productions. They wanted to restrict her; she walked.
The current artistic director is Michelle Terry. An actor-manager in the Rylance mould, she has focussed her efforts on diversity and actor-friendliness, and has already had her first hit with new feminist play 'Emilia', a story of Shakespeare's 'Dark Lady' which landed a West End transfer.
|Venue name:||Shakespeare's Globe|
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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‘Henry IV Part 1, or Hotspur’ review
Michelle Terry leads the return of her Globe Ensemble from the front: the actor-artistic director’s all-guns-blazing take on rebel lord Henry ‘Hotspur’ Percy is the clear highlight of her rep company’s second season.Hotspur is usually interpreted as a...Shakespeare Until Friday October 11 2019
‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’ review
Poor Falstaff. After losing his boyhood bezzie in ‘Henry IV Parts 1 and 2’ (which Shakespeare’s Globe is also staging with great aplomb this summer) he gets indignity after indignity piled on him in this sequel, arguably Shakespeare’s silliest play. The...Shakespeare Until Saturday October 12 2019
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
This really is the summer of ‘A Misummer Night’s Dream’ – the Bridge and Open Air Theatre have major productions, and here’s the Globe’s latest take, which comes just three years after Emma Rice’s magnificent version, which itself came just three years...Shakespeare Friday June 28 2019 - Sunday October 13 2019
‘As You Like It’ review
This review is from 2018. ‘As You Like It’ returns for 2019. Casting TBA, but liable to be different. Anybody expecting the Globe to become a chintzy Shakespeare museum, in the wake of the untimely end of Emma Rice’s boisterous regime, doesn’t know the...Shakespeare Wednesday August 7 2019 - Saturday September 21 2019
Shakespeare's Globe on Tour
Shakespeare's Globe's touring productions of 'Twelfth Night', 'Pericles' and 'Comedy of Errors' are coming home to the wooden 'O' this summer for selected dates in June and August. There's a mix of conventional performance and 'audience choice' shows,...Shakespeare Tuesday August 13 2019 - Saturday August 24 2019
For the first time in well over a decade there is no new writing in the Globe’s outdoor season: a bit of a surpise given that last year’s ‘Emilia’ has transferred to the West End (or perhaps a home season of almost wall-to-wall Shakespeare is the trade...Comedy Friday August 23 2019 - Saturday October 12 2019
‘Henry IV Part 2, or Falstaff’ review
Oh dear. If ‘Henry IV Part 1’ felt like vindication for the Globe Ensemble rep company, then ‘Henry IV Part 2’… well, it’s just not very good.Part of the reason for this is that ‘Henry IV Part 2’ isn’t exactly Shakespeare bringing his A-game. The most...Shakespeare Friday October 11 2019
‘Henry V, or Harry England’ review
Sarah Amankwah is too reserved to convince as a party-loving young Prince Hal in the Globe’s ‘Henry IV Parts 1 and 2’. But this is her moment. She’s an excellent Henry V, that mix of ironic humour and androgynous inscrutability making her convincing as...Shakespeare Friday October 11 2019
Average User Rating
4.7 / 5
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- 4 star:13
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We did he tour which was interesting but over priced and quite short. I would recommend going to see a show instead.
Always amazing! I love how contemporary the productions have been in the last two years. Shame that the creative director is leaving the post already. The old men just can't take the brilliance of a woman!
Quite simply this has to be done at least once in your life .....fabulous , although a little chilly x
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!
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