10 Remarkable Facts about The Globe Theatre


The Globe Theatre was a theatre in London associated with William Shakespeare.

1. Global Theatre was built by Shakespeare’s playing company


William Shakespeare- Artist; John Taylor- Wikimedia

In 1599, the global theatre was built by Shakespeare’s playing company, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, on land owned by Thomas Brend and inherited by his son, Nicholas Brend, and grandson, Sir Matthew Brend.

2. A modern reconstruction of the globe opened in 1997

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre Replica 1997- Author; Txllxt TxllxT- Wikimedia

A modern reconstruction and replica of the Globe, named “Shakespeare’s Globe“, opened in 1997 with a production of Henry V.

It was approximately 750 feet (230 m) from the site of the original theatre. From 1909, the current Gielgud Theatre was called “Globe Theatre”, until it was renamed in 1994.

3. Globe Theatre was owned by actors who were shareholders of Lord Chamberlain’s Men

The Globe was owned by actors who were also shareholders in the Lord Chamberlain’s Men. Two of the six Globe shareholders, Richard Burbage and his brother Cuthbert Burbage, owned double shares of the whole. That is, 25% each.

The other four men, Shakespeare, John Heminges, Augustine Phillips, and Thomas Pope, owned a single share. That is, 12.5% each.

Originally, William Kempe was intended to be the seventh partner, but he sold out his share to the four minority sharers, thus leaving them with more than the originally planned share of 10%.

4. Was built using timber from an earlier theatre

Pieces of timber- Image by Pexels from Pixabay

The Globe was built in 1599 using timber from an earlier theatre. This was the theatre that had been built by Richard Burbage’s father, James Burbage, in Shoreditch in 1576.

The Burbages originally had a 21-year lease of the site on which the theatre was built but owned the building outright.

On 28 December 1598, while Allen was celebrating Christmas at his country home, carpenter Peter Street, supported by the players and their friends, dismantled The Theatre beam by beam and transported it to Street’s waterfront warehouse near Bridewell.

With the onset of more favourable weather in the following spring, the material was ferried over the Thames to reconstruct it as The Globe on some marshy gardens to the south of Maiden Lane, Southwark.

While only a hundred yards from the congested shore of the Thames, the piece of land was situated close by an area of farmland and open fields.

5. In 1613, the globe theatre went up in flames during a performance

Image by adrian schüpbach from Pixabay

On 29 June 1613, the Globe Theatre went up in flames during a performance of Henry VIII.

A theatrical cannon, set off during the performance, misfired, igniting the wooden beams and thatching.

According to one of the few surviving documents of the event, no one was hurt except a man whose burning breeches were put out with a bottle of ale.

It was however rebuilt in the following year.

6. It was closed down by the puritans in 1642

Springfield Puritan- Author; Augustus Saint-Gaudens (sculpture) Daderot (image)- Wikimedia

Like all the other theatres in London, the Globe was closed down by the Puritans in 1642.

It was pulled down in 1644–1645 (the commonly cited document dating the act to 15 April 1644 has been identified as a probable forgery) to make room for tenements.

7. A modern replica of the second globe theatre was opened in 2016 in New Zealand

Pop-up Globe’s first location, Auckland CBD 2016- Author; Yoram Inger- Wikimedia

In February 2016, a temporary full-scale replica of the Second Globe Theatre, called the Pop-up Globe and based on scholarly reanalyses of the surviving evidence for the 1614 building, was opened.

It opened in downtown Auckland, New Zealand, and presented a three-month season of Shakespeare’s plays performed by a house company and by visiting local production groups.

It was reconstructed in a second Auckland location to host a three-month 2017 season.

8. Its actual dimension is not really known

Author; Archeologo- Wikimedia

The Globe’s actual dimensions are unknown, but its shape and size can be approximated from scholarly inquiry over the last two centuries.

The evidence suggests that it was a three-storey, open-air amphitheatre approximately 100 feet in diameter that could house up to 3,000 spectators.

The Globe is shown as round on Wenceslas Hollar‘s sketch of the building, later incorporated into his etched Long View of London from Bankside in 1647.

However, in 1988–1989, the uncovering of a small part of the Globe’s foundation suggested that it was a polygon of 20 sides.

9. It had an area called the pit at the base of its stage

At the base of the stage, there was an area called the pit, where, for a penny, people would stand on the rush-strewn earthen floor to watch the performance.

During the excavation of the Globe in 1989, a layer of nutshells was found, pressed into the dirt flooring so as to form a new surface layer.

Vertically around the yard were three levels of stadium-style seats, which were more expensive than standing room.

A rectangular stage platform, also known as an apron stage, thrust out into the middle of the open-air yard. The stage measured approximately 43 feet in width and 27 feet in depth and was raised about 5 feet off the ground.

On this stage, there was a trap door used by performers to enter from the area beneath the stage.

10. The ceiling of its roof was referred to as heaven due to its clouds and sky painting

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Large columns on either side of the stage supported a roof over the rear portion of the stage. The ceiling under this roof was called the “heavens,” as it was painted with clouds and the sky.

A trap door in the heavens enabled performers to descend using some form of rope and harness. The stage was set in the southeast corner of the building, so as to be in shade during afternoon performances in summer.