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The Globe
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  • 1. The Globe A Theater in the Round…
  • 2.  Although Shakespeare's plays were performed at other venues during the playwright's career, the Globe Theatre in the Southwark district of London was the venue at which the Bard's best known stage works (including his four great tragedies) were first produced.
  • 3.  The Globe was built during Shakespeare's early period in 1599 by one of his long- standing associates, Cuthbert Burbage, the brother of the most famous Shakespearean actor of the Elizabethan Age, Richard Burbage.
  • 4.  The Chamberlain's Company, who built the Globe, formed in 1594. At the time, it was one of only two licensed acting companies in London.  Among the eight actors in the group were Shakespeare and Richard Burbage. Of the eight, only six donated the funds used to build the theater.
  • 5.  The Chamberlain's Company later changed its name to the King's Company when James took over the English throne.  The Globe was the most important structure to Shakespeare's drama because most of his plays were written to be performed on the stage of the Globe.  Romeo and Juliet was not one of them.
  • 6.  The Globe was obviously round in shape, containing 20 sides and three stories.  Because the theater had no electricity, all performances were during the day to allow the sun to light the open air theater.
  • 7.  The flag on the top of the theater was raised on performance days, and the color of the flag was significant.  Red = history  White = Comedy  Black = Tragedy
  • 8.  The Globe enclosed an open courtyard, which theater-goers called “The Pit.”  The patrons who sat here were fittingly called “The Groundlings.”  More expensive seats, covered with a thatched roof, were called The Galleries.
  • 9.  The action took place on the main stage, which contained a trap door used for ghosts, demons, or even a grave in the famous scene from Hamlet.  The back of the stage was called the inner stage, used mostly for indoor scenes. There was an “inner below” and an “inner above.”
  • 10.  In Shakespeare’s times no women were allowed to act, which is probably why there are more men’s parts than women’s in his plays.  The productions did not have scenery and had very few props.
  • 11. Tragically, the original Globe burned down in 1613 due to a cannon shot used as a prop during a performance of Henry VIII. It was soon rebuilt, though, and remained open on its original foundations until the Puritans closed it in 1642 and the Globe II was torn down two years later to make room for housing.
  • 12. An Early 17th Century drawing of the Globe in the time of Shakespeare
  • 13. 1647 Illustration by Wenceslaus Hollar
  • 14. The foundation remained buried until the mid- twentieth century. In 1949, an American actor named Sam Wanamaker realized the Globe no longer existed. He made it his life’s work to bring the Globe back to life.
  • 15. As it appears today…
  • 16. The Globe Theater 1 FLAG 2 HEAVENS 3 HUT 4 INNER ABOVE 5 GALLERIES 6 MAIN STAGE 7 INNER BELOW 8 THE PIT 9 COLUMN 10 TRAP DOOR 11 ENTRANCE 12 FOUNDATION