Shakespeare’s Globe is situated on the River Thames, in the Bankside’s Cultural Quarter. It is widely recognised as the prime place to see productions of the Bard’s works, and welcomes thousands of visitors to experience internationally renowned Shakespeare productions every day.
The original Globe Theatre opened in 1599, and is the building after which the current venue is named. The present theatre is located a short walk away from the National Theatre, a stone’s throw from where the original globe stood, and is an exact reconstruction of its predecessor.
As well as the main outside performance space, the Shakespeare’s Globe also contains the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, a magical candlelit indoor theatre accessed through the main foyer area.
Immersed in its historic legacy, the theatre gives the appearance of looking much older than it is, but is in actual fact one of the newest theatres in the area. The original theatre saw its demise in 1613 when wadding from a stage cannon ignited the thatched roof during a performance of Henry VIII, and burnt the theatre to the ground. It is perhaps wise that 400 years later, live cannons are no longer used in theatres! However, Shakespeare’s work is being performed at the current theatre with all of the rest of the original performances’ conditions.
Reconstructed in the 1990s, it was founded by pioneering American actor and director Sam Wanamaker, who was adamant that the theatre’s programme was not just limited to staging Shakespeare plays. The venue also acts as an international resource in the exploration of his work, offering numerous education programmes, seeking to further the experience and international understanding of Shakespeare.
Shakespeare’s Globe also boasts its very own elegant restaurant, named the Swan after Shakespeare’s original theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. Attendees can dine before enjoying the brilliantly produced shows.