Tag Archives: The Globe

“Shakespeare’s own play-house” (The Globe)

On this day in 1644, “The Globe” was demolished by order of the Puritan City authorities (and the site redeveloped by Sir Matthew Brand or Brend). The play-house had originally been  built in 1599 by the theatrical impresario Cuthbert Burbage, using some materials salvaged from his father James’s “The Theatre” in Shoreditch, after the expiry of the lease on that latter property (see April 13th posting). It had then burnt down in a fire in 1613, after sparks from a theatrical cannon set some thatch alight during a performance of Shakespeare’s “Henry the Eighth”, and been rebuilt in 1614, before falling into disuse sometime around 1642, when the performance of plays was banned by an Act of Parliament forced through by the Puritans (reading, in part: “It is … thought fit, and Ordained, …  That, while these sad … Times …  do continue, Public Stage Plays shall cease, … instead of which are recommended … the profitable and seasonable considerations of Repentance, Reconciliation, and Peace with God, which probably may … bring again Times of Joy and Gladness to these Nations”).

“The Globe” was “Shakespeare’s (own) play-house, and the venue where many of his plays were first performed”

The sites of the original play-house, and of the recent reconstruction, are visited on our “Historic Southwark” standard walk, and on our “Post-Medieval [Tudor and Stuart] London – The City that Shakespeare knew” themed special.

Further details of all our walks are available via the “Our Guided Walks” section of this web-site.

Bookings may be made through the “Contact/Booking” section of the web-site, by e-mail (lostcityoflondon@sky.com), or by phone (020-8998-3051).

Experiences of the theatre in Post-Medieval London

Thomas Platter

September 21st  

In 1599, Thomas Platter, a Swiss visitor to London, wrote:

“After dinner on the 21st of September, at about two o’clock, I went with my companions over the water [to Southwark], and in the strewn roof-house [?The Globe] saw the tragedy of the first Emperor Julius with at least fifteen characters very well acted.  At the end … they danced according to their custom with extreme elegance.  Two in men’s clothes and two in women’s gave this performance, in wonderful combination with each other”.

And:

“On another occasion, I saw … a comedy; if I remember right, in Bishopsgate.  Here they represented various nations, with whom … and Englishman fought … , and overcame them all except the German … .  [H]e outwitted the German … .

 [E]very day at two o’clock  … two and sometimes three comedies are performed, at separate places, wherewith folk make merry together, and whichever does best gets the greatest audience.

… What they … produce daily by way of mirth … every one knows well, who has happened to see them … playing … .

With such …  pastimes … the English spend their time; … [and] …  learn what is going on in  other lands … ”.

Others took  much less  favourable views of the theatres, and  of the  badly-behaved crowds that they attracted.

The Lord Mayor and Aldermen made repeated efforts to have them closed down, on one occasion petitioning the Privy Council as follows:

“We have signified to your Honours many times heretofore the great inconvenience which we find to grow by the common exercise of stage-plays.  We presumed to do so, … being persuaded … that neither in polity nor in religion are they to be suffered in a Christian commonwealth, … containing nothing but profane fables, lascivious matters, cozening devices, and scurrilous behaviours … .  Among other inconveniences it is not the least that they give opportunity to the … evil-disposed and ungodly people that are within and about this city to assemble themselves … for … lewd and ungodly practices … .  For avoiding whereof we are now again most humble and earnest suitors to your honours to direct … letters … to the justices of peace of Surrey and Middlesex for the present stay and final suppression of the said stage-plays, as well at the Theatre, Curtain and Bankside as in all other places in and about the city … ”.

Indeed, the theatres were eventually temporarily closed down by the Puritans in the 1640s to 1650s, during the  Civil War and succeeding Commonwealth and Protectorate, only reopening in the 1660s, after the Restoration of the Monarchy.

Feature in the reconstructed Globe

‘Lascivious matters’ – a decorative detail in the modern reconstruction of The Globe Theatre

The sites of former London playhouses and theatres are visited on various of our standard walks and – all together – on our “Tudor and Stuart London” themed special.

Further details of all our walks are available in the “Our Guided Walks” section.

Bookings may be made through the “Contact/Booking” section, by e-mail (lostcityoflondon@sky.com), or by phone (020-8998-3051).

“Great marvaile and fair grace of God” (fire at Shakespeare’s Globe)

June 29th –  On this day in 1613, the original “Globe” play-house on Bankside in Southwark (see June 12th posting) burned down, during a performance of Shakespeare’s “Henry the Eighth”.

Henry Wotton wrote of the event, in a letter to Sir Edmund Bacon (reproduced in “Reliquiae Wottoniae”):

2-reconstructed-globe

Sprinklers on the thatched roof of the reconstructed Globe – just in case!

“Now, King Henry making a Masque at the Cardinal Wolsey’s House, and certain Cannons being shot off at his entry, some of the Paper, or other stuff, wherewith one of them was stopped, did light on the Thatch, …  and … kindled inwardly, and ran round like a train, consuming within less than an hour the whole House to the very ground.  This was the fatal period … wherein yet nothing did perish but wood and straw … ; … one man had his breeches set on fire, that would perhaps have broiled him, if he had not by the benefit of a provident wit put it out with bottle ale”.

And John Chamberlain (see also this posting):

“[I]t was a great marvaile and fair grace of God, that the people had so little harm, having but two narrow doors to get out”.

The 400th anniversary, in 2013,  was marked by the reconstructed “Globe” by a series of events on the theme of  “Shakespeare on Fire”. Shakespeare on Fire The site of the original “Globe” is visited on our “Historic Southwark” standard walk, and on our “Tudor and Stuart London” themed special (together with Sam Wanamaker’s reconstruction).

Further details of all our walks are available in the “Our Guided Walks” section of our web-site.

Bookings may be made through the “Contact/Booking” section of the web-site, by e-mail (lostcityoflondon@sky.com), or by phone (020-8998-3051).

“This Woodden O” (Shakespeare’s “Globe”)

Site of original Globe

Detail of plaque marking site of  the original Globe

June 12th –  According to the Shakespearean scholar Steve Sohmer, on this day in 1599, the original  “Globe” was opened in Southwark.  Also, on this day in 1997, Sam Wanamaker’s reconstructed “Globe” was officially opened by the Queen.

The original “Globe”  was  built by the theatrical impresario Cuthbert Burbage, using some materials salvaged from his father James’s “The Theatre” in Shoreditch, after the expiry of the lease on that latter property (see also  postings here and here).

It   was later burnt down in a fire in 1613, after sparks from a theatrical cannon set some thatch alight during a performance of Shakespeare’s “Henry the Eighth”; re-built in 1614; fell into disuse sometime around 1642, when the performance of plays was banned, by order of the Puritans; and was finally demolished in 1644, again by order of the Puritans (see also posting here ).

The gallery below (photos by Bob Jones) features both of the plaques marking the Globe’s original site, and also includes images of the reconstructed Globe, built on the Bankside quite near to that spot. The reconstruction (fruition of many years’ effort by Sam Wanamaker) opened in 1997.

The site of the original “Globe” – “Shakespeare’s (own) play-house, and the venue where many of his plays were first performed”– is visited on our “Historic Southwark” standard walk, and on our “Tudor and Stuart London” themed special (together with the reconstruction).

Further details of all our walks are available in the “Guided Walks” section of our web-site. Bookings may be made through the “Contact/Booking” section of the web-site, by e-mail (lostcityoflondon@sky.com), or by phone (020-8998-3051).

Experiences of the theatre in Post-Medieval London

Thomas Platter

September 21st  

In 1599, Thomas Platter, a Swiss visitor to London, wrote:

“After dinner on the 21st of September, at about two o’clock, I went with my companions over the water [to Southwark], and in the strewn roof-house [?The Globe] saw the tragedy of the first Emperor Julius with at least fifteen characters very well acted.  At the end … they danced according to their custom with extreme elegance.  Two in men’s clothes and two in women’s gave this performance, in wonderful combination with each other”.

And:

“On another occasion, I saw … a comedy; if I remember right, in Bishopsgate.  Here they represented various nations, with whom … and Englishman fought … , and overcame them all except the German … .  [H]e outwitted the German … .

 [E]very day at two o’clock  … two and sometimes three comedies are performed, at separate places, wherewith folk make merry together, and whichever does best gets the greatest audience.

… What they … produce daily by way of mirth … every one knows well, who has happened to see them … playing … .

With such …  pastimes … the English spend their time; … [and] …  learn what is going on in  other lands … ”.

Others took  much less  favourable views of the theatres, and  of the  badly-behaved crowds that they attracted.

The Lord Mayor and Aldermen made repeated efforts to have them closed down, on one occasion petitioning the Privy Council as follows:

“We have signified to your Honours many times heretofore the great inconvenience which we find to grow by the common exercise of stage-plays.  We presumed to do so, … being persuaded … that neither in polity nor in religion are they to be suffered in a Christian commonwealth, … containing nothing but profane fables, lascivious matters, cozening devices, and scurrilous behaviours … .  Among other inconveniences it is not the least that they give opportunity to the … evil-disposed and ungodly people that are within and about this city to assemble themselves … for … lewd and ungodly practices … .  For avoiding whereof we are now again most humble and earnest suitors to your honours to direct … letters … to the justices of peace of Surrey and Middlesex for the present stay and final suppression of the said stage-plays, as well at the Theatre, Curtain and Bankside as in all other places in and about the city … ”.

Indeed, the theatres were eventually temporarily closed down by the Puritans in the 1640s to 1650s, during the  Civil War and succeeding Commonwealth and Protectorate, only reopening in the 1660s, after the Restoration of the Monarchy.

Feature in the reconstructed Globe

‘Lascivious matters’ – a decorative detail in the modern reconstruction of The Globe Theatre

“Great marvaile and fair grace of God” (fire at Shakespeare’s Globe)

 

2-reconstructed-globe

Thatch on reconstructed Globe – with sprinklers, just in case!

June 29th –  On this day in 1613, the original “Globe” play-house on Bankside in Southwark (see June 12th posting) burned down, during a performance of Shakespeare’s “Henry the Eighth”. Henry Wotton wrote of the event, in a letter to Sir Edmund Bacon (reproduced in “Reliquiae Wottoniae”):

“Now, King Henry making a Masque at the Cardinal Wolsey’s House, and certain Cannons being shot off at his entry, some of the Paper, or other stuff, wherewith one of them was stopped, did light on the Thatch, …  and … kindled inwardly, and ran round like a train, consuming within less than an hour the whole House to the very ground”.

And John Chamberlain (see March 11th posting):

“[I]t was a great marvaile and fair grace of God, that the people had so little harm, having but two narrow doors to get out”.

The 400th anniversary, last year,  was marked by the reconstructed “Globe” by a series of events on the theme of  “Shakespeare on Fire”. Shakespeare on Fire The site of the original “Globe” is visited on our “Historic Southwark” standard walk, and on our “Tudor and Stuart London” themed special (together with Sam Wanamaker’s reconstruction).

Further details of all our walks are available in the “Our Guided Walks” section of our web-site.

Bookings may be made through the “Contact/Booking” section of the web-site, by e-mail (lostcityoflondon@sky.com), or by phone (020-8998-3051).

 

“This Woodden O” (Shakespeare’s “Globe”)

2 - New plaque

8 - Is it just me, or is this Mark RylanceJune 12th –  According to the Shakespearean scholar Steve Sohmer, on this day in 1599, the original  “Globe” was opened in Southwark.

The “Globe”  was  built by the theatrical impresario Cuthbert Burbage, using some materials salvaged from his father James’s “The Theatre” in Shoreditch, after the expiry of the lease on that latter property (see also  postings here and here).

It   was later burnt down in a fire in 1613, after sparks from a theatrical cannon set some thatch alight during a performance of Shakespeare’s “Henry the Eighth”; re-built in 1614; fell into disuse sometime around 1642, when the performance of plays was banned, by order of the Puritans; and was finally demolished in 1644, again by order of the Puritans (see also posting here ).

The site of the original “Globe” – “Shakespeare’s (own) play-house, and the venue where many of his plays were first performed”– is visited on our “Historic Southwark” standard walk, and on our “Tudor and Stuart London” themed special (together with Sam Wanamaker’s reconstruction  on Bankside).

Further details of all our walks are available in the “Our Guided Walks” section of our web-site. Bookings may be made through the “Contact/Booking” section of the web-site, by e-mail (lostcityoflondon@sky.com), or by phone (020-8998-3051).