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Panorama Archives: 2000
Shakespeare's Globe: It's Back!
by Kofi Akumanyi
An aerial view of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and complex now nearing completion on the South Bank of the River Thames.
Photo: John Upton
The theatre is a faithful reconstruction on the site of Shakespeare's original that was closed by the Puritans in 1642 and pulled down two years later. It is the dream of American actor Sam Wanamaker who died in 1993 just after serious building of the theatre began. Green English oak, clay brick, thatch, and lime and goat-hair plaster were used to recreate the original design of 1599.
The Globe, which opened this summer, accommodates over 1500 people and will present the Bard of Stratford's plays as they were meant to be presented - costumed actors, no scenery, and the unique proximity between performers and audiences. Actors will experience the physical excitement of an audience clustered above and around them.
The half-covered theatre contains a stage thrust into its centre and surrounded on three sides by standing spectators called "groundlings". Beyond, three tiers of seating encircles players and spectators. Natural light, speech and music will fill the theatre.
The £30 million complex also comprises the indoor Inigo Jones theatre, a cavernous subterranean exhibition area, a library, cinema, restaurant and an international educational centre that is already operating workshops.
Shakespeare's works are performed in over 90 languages and in its first year the Globe is expected to attract over 600,000 visitors, from student to scholar to tourist.
For more information contact:
Bear Gardens, Bankside, Southwark, London, United Kingdom, SEl 9ED
Tel: +44 171 620 0202 /Fax: +44 171 928 7968
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