Time Out says
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.
New Globe Walk
|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.|
|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.)|
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‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ review
When ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ is trotted out so regularly – in London alone, there are three big ones on this summer – you can see why a director would want to make their version memorable. And if there’s one thing for certain to say about Sean Holmes’s...Shakespeare Until Sunday October 13 2019
‘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
‘Bartholomew Fair’ review
If only there were some sort of large, raucous, open-air theatre in London that could stage this rare revival of Ben Jonson’s sprawling outdoor-set 1614 comedy ‘Bartholomew Fair’… Seriously, though, Blanche McIntyre’s Sam Wanamaker revival has a lot...Comedy Friday September 27 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
Deep Night, Dark Night
Step into the candlelit darkness of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse for a night of pure terror. Or at the very least, some ghost stories, which should go down a spooky treat this Halloween in London’s most atmospheric theatre. There are two different bills:...Drama Wednesday October 30 2019 - Thursday December 5 2019
Michelle Terry’s Globe Ensemble rep company still feels like it’s settling in: its two summer seasons so far have had their moments, but can broadly be summarised as good actors with weak direction. But the ensemble’s Wanamaker debut looks promising:...Shakespeare Tuesday November 5 2019 - Sunday January 26 2020
As the Globe Ensemble methodically makes its way through Shakespeare’s history plays, it hits upon one of the Bard's greatest hits in the form of ‘Richard III’, last seen here a few years back with Mark Rylance as a disconcertingly childlike take on the...Shakespeare Wednesday November 13 2019 - Sunday January 26 2020
There’s been a marked decrease in the amount of new writing performed at the Globe this year: nothing in the summer season, and just one play in Michelle Terry’s second winter season. Still, that play is a bit of a coup: Ella Hickson follows up this year’s...Drama Friday December 6 2019 - Saturday February 15 2020
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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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