July 29, 2013 | | Comments 0

London Day 4: Shakespeare Globe Theater

Shakespeare Globe is one of the several attractions on the South Bank.

This is a replica of the Elizabethan theater opened in 1997. The original Globe was built nearby in 1597 after Shakespeare and his company transported a playhouse, timber by timber, across the Thames from Shoreditch. In 1612, during a performance of Henry VIII, a stage cannon sparked a fire and the wooden structure burned down completely. Now, the theater is equipped with water sprinklers.

The original Globe seats more than 3000; 2200 seated and 1000 groundlings. Today’s Globe seats 800 and accommodates 600 standing.

The plays Hamlet, Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet all had their premieres at the original Globe Theater.

We joined the half hour Globe Theater tour of the auditorium. The guide explained to us the history of the Globe Theater. The upper level seats were for higher class audiences while the cheapest tickets were for standing audiences. The word box office came from the practice where the price for the tickets were dropped into a box which will be brought up to the office to tally.

The Globe has always been an open-air roof theater. Performances are held in the summer only.

A view of the stage from the ground where lower class spectators will stand and watch. In the old days, such theater play was meant for rough people and that’s the reason theater was not allow in the city of London which is on the north side of the Thames. Spectators usually came over by boat. This area was used to be called Surrey.

Here is the upper class spectators’ seats.

A view of the stage from the upper class seats. The guide told us that another reason you do not want to be with the lower class spectators was these people only took bath twice a year, hence you can imagine the smell standing among the crowds on the ground level.

The windows on the stairways and upper levels were called wind holes which help to circulate the air.

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