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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There’s deliciously hammy acting in this production, plus Charles II’s throbbing English sausage and more sexual innuendoes than you can shake a pointy stick at. Jessica Swale’s new play plots the rise (easy, gentlemen) of Nell Gwynn, who first sold her...West End Tuesday May 2 2017 - Saturday May 13 2017
Romeo and Juliet
You would have to have been exiled to Verona to be unaware of the Globe’s recent troubles, wherein its artistic director Emma Rice – who only started last year – has been forced out by the theatre’s board, who objected to her penchant for using electric...Shakespeare Wednesday May 3 2017 - Sunday July 9 2017
Emma Rice's berserk, uninhibited take on 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' was one of the best things the Globe has staged in eons, making it doubly sad that she's leaving as artistic director so soon (and under such murky circustances). This production of...Shakespeare Thursday May 18 2017 - Saturday August 5 2017
Tristan & Yseult
A Cornish King marries his enemy's sister in 'Tristan & Yseult', a reimagining of the classic medieval romance that's seen through the eyes of a cuckolded husband. Globe boss Emma Rice is reviving this ten-year-old show for a Celtic tour (Cornwall, Ireland,...Drama Tuesday June 13 2017 - Saturday June 24 2017
Much Ado About Nothing
After his explosive gangland reimagining of 'Cymbeline', last year's 'Imogen', Matthew Dunster is reimagining well-loved comedy 'Much Ado About Nothing'. It's a play that's famous for its pair of warring lovers, Beatrice and Benedick. Dunster's amped...Shakespeare Friday July 14 2017 - Sunday October 15 2017
As artistic director of Shared Experience, Nancy Meckler is known for using physical theatre to imagine characters' inner lives. Shakespeare's tragedy 'King Lear', her debut Globe show, will throw up plenty of psychological complexities to work with. She'll...Shakespeare Thursday August 10 2017 - Saturday October 14 2017
The Globe is taking a break from all that Shakespeare with this fearsome new play by Tristan Bernays. As the name suggests, it's a look at the Celtic warrior queen who fought the Romans for the throne they denied her. Bernays is having a bit of a moment:...Drama Friday September 8 2017 - Sunday October 1 2017
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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!