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The Globe

Shakespeare's Life
Shakespeare's Plays
More Plays
Elizabethan Theatre
Shakespeare's Achievements
The Globe
Elizabethan England

The Globe Theatre

The Globe Theatre was built by Peter Smith, a carpenter, and his workers. It was the most magnificent theatre London had ever seen.

The Globe was first built in 1597 -1598. It could hold up to several thousand people!

The Globe Theatre didn’t just show plays. It was also used as a brothel and a house of gambling. It was built on the South bank of the river Thames in Southwark. The old Globe Theatre was a magnificent building.

Maps of London nearly always show the architecture of the Globe Theatre. It was because of these that has enabled an approximate drawing of the old Globe Theatre to be produced. There are no pictures of the inside of the old Globe Theatre in existence, however, a picture of another theatre, the Swan, has been found (see Pictures). The amphitheatres has similar designs, so the picture of the Swan Theatre can be used a good guide to the structure of the old Globe.
Days out at the Globe Theater would have been an exciting event to attend. The grounds surrounding the Globe Theater would have been bustling with people. There would be Stalls all around selling merchandise and refreshments creating a market-like atmosphere. The people who didn’t go to the plays would still go to the theater to go to the market stalls and 'soak in ' the holiday-like atmosphere. The Globe would have attracted alot of young people and there were often many complaints of apprentices avoiding work in order to go to the theater. A trumpet would be sounded to announce the play was about to start in order for people to take their places.
The Elizabethan general public (the Commoners), also referred to as groundlings, would pay 1 penny to stand in the 'Pit' of the Theater. The higher classes would pay to sit in the galleries, using cushions for comfort. Rich nobles could watch the play from a chair on the side of the stage itself. The performances were usualy held in the afternoon, because there was no artificial lighting. Men and women could attend plays, but often the wealthy women would wear a mask to disguise themselves. The plays would attract vast audiences to the Globe.

The only time when audiences died down, was at the time of the Bubonic Plague. At one point, all theatres were closed down because of it.


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