Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
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~~Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London can be called the third Globe. It is a a reconstruction of the original Globe theatre. Preparations for building the Globe started in 1970 and it took 23 years to find land, get planning permission and raise the money for the work.
Shakespeare’s Globe was built as close to the site of the old Globe as possible – just one street nearer the river. The Shakespeare’s Globe Trust did huge amounts of research to make the theatre as accurate a reproduction as possible. The builders, began at the very beginning. They used the same kind of wood the original builders would have used: green oak. They used the same techniques and tools as carpenters in Shakespeare’s time used. They couldn’t do everything in the same way. Safety regulations meant they had to use modern scaffolding and cranes. But they made every joint in the same way and fixed the timbers together, for example using wooden pegs.
The First Globe Theatre
Many of Shakespeare’s plays were first performed at the Globe. The first Globe was built by the company Shakespeare was in – the Lord Chamberlain’s Men. Richard Burbage was the
company’s leading actor. They had played at the Theatre, built by the Burbage family on land leased from a Mr Allen. In 1597, Allen refused to renew the lease. However the
Burbages owned the Theatre because the lease said they owned anything built on the land. They took it down while Allen was away over Christmas. Their builder stored it in his yard on the north bank of the Thames. The Burbages could not afford to lease a new theatre site. So they offered five of the company, including Shakespeare, the chance to become part- owners of the new theatre for £10 each. With this money they leased land on the south bank of the River Thames, near the Rose theatre.
The builder who stored the timbers of the Theatre was Peter Streete. Once the weather was better Streete took the timber across the Thames, to Southwark, and used them to build the Globe theatre. Southwark was a good place for the new theatre. It was outside the control of the city officials (who were hostile to theatres). People already went there to be entertained. It had two theatres (the Rose and the Swan) and taverns.
Streete and his workmen built a brick base for the theatre. The walls were made from big timber frames, filled with smaller slats of wood covered with plaster that had cow hair in it. Because the owners were struggling for money, they used the cheapest options in the building process. For example, the roof of the theatre was thatched with reeds, not covered with more expensive tile. In 1599 the theatre opened and was a huge success.