‘I wonder that you will still be talking. Nobody marks you.’
– Much Ado About Nothing (1.1.104)
The theatre is the third Globe theatre to be built; the first burned down during a performance of Henry VIII in 1613, and the second was closed by religious followers who opposed theatrical performances. This theatre is built about one street over from the original location, and was built as close as possible to the originals, even to the point of using the same type of wood – minus a few safety hazards.
They mostly perform Shakespeare’s plays, but they sometimes do new/non-Shakespeare plays as well. I watched Much Ado About Nothing (2011), which I studied in high school – and would recommend you watch one you already know. At the risk of sounding like an English Lit loser, it’s so much more exciting when you see it come to life – all those hours you spent learning translations weren’t for nothing!
Every couple of years, a play will be performed again, although with a different cast, crew and director (because, as English teachers love to repeat: it’s all about the interpretation). The casting was great for Much Ado About Nothing (2011), and it seems to always be like that. Sometimes you might even recognise familiar faces from film and television, such as Indira Varma in the currently playing Titus Andronicus (2014), who has most recently appeared on
the best television show to ever exist Game of Thrones.
The great thing about watching a play at Shakespeare’s Globe is the atmosphere. It feels like you are transported back in time. With the standing tickets there’s a sense of camaraderie in the audience; people are encouraged to interact with the actors through booing, cheers, and heckles (preferably at the villains), just as the audiences of Shakespeare’s time did.
1. The galleries have three levels which circle the stage – however the majority of the tickets are standing yard tickets. If you can stand for 2.5 – 3 hours (trust me, it goes by quickly), I’d strongly recommend it because a) it’s much more lively; b) you can see the entire stage (all seats have some sort of obstructed view), and; c) it makes less of a dent on your wallet (£5), so you can spend the precious £s you save at the bar instead.
2. If your travel plans are uncertain, you don’t have to book in advance and can wait in line for last-minute tickets that become available from refunds or no-shows. They normally try and get as many in as possible. However, if you want to watch a well-known play like R&J or the Scottish play, or even during Summer months on Fridays or weekends, you should probably book in advance.
3. There’s some awesome merchandise available for Shakespeare lovers, like this mug and tea towel (yes I really like Macbeth):
4. There’s a bar/brasserie if you’d like to grab a bite to eat or have a drink.
5. There are some great pieces at the Tate Modern, which is right next to the Globe. So if you’ve got some time to kill, go early and have a look. Here are some photos I took of my favourites from the gallery: