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The Three Globe Theatres: Shakespeare’s Theatre

1159 words - 5 pages

Known by many as Shakespeare’s theatre, the Globe theatre is the epitome of the statement, “Third times the charm.” As it has burned to the ground, was destroyed by puritans and now stands today in its third, non-flammable form, “The New Globe Theatre.” All three of the Globe theatres have been built in similar fashion with a thrust stage surrounded by a two story; circular shaped building that housed magnificent audiences. Attracted by the special effects and the various plays produced by The Kings Men, the audiences only slowed when outbreaks of the Bubonic Plague occurred. Approximately 400 years ago William Shakespeare’s theatre troop built one of the most famous Elizabethan theatres, “The Globe Theatre.”
At the beginning of the Elizabethan era, prior to 1576, plays took place in inn-yards, the houses of Noblemen, or in extreme circumstances on open ground. Then in 1576, the first playhouse was opened by James Burbage the holder of a lease that allowed him to open “The Theatre.” In the years following the opening of “The Theatre” many open air playhouses sprung up from the ground in and around London. Finally in 1599, the most famous Elizabethan playhouse, “The Globe,” was built by the theatre company in which William Shakespeare had stake. The initial globe theatre, home to Shakespeare’s theatre troupe was only in commission for approximately 14 years, before it was burned to the ground. Not for heresy, but because a special effects canon stuffed with gunpowder and wadding set the thatch roof on fire. The King's Men, formally known as Lord Chamberlain’s Men quickly rebuilt the Globe, but included tile roofing in order to protect the integrity of the Globe. The second Globe Theatre was built in 1614 and was rebuilt on the original foundations of the first theatre. Unfortunately, this theatre was demolished by the Puritans in 1644. So the New theatre in London is in fact the third construction to be built in the same area of London, but 350 years later!
The New Globe Theatre, built approximately 200 yards from the site of the original theatre, is a circular-shaped building with 20 sides. In order to mimic the visual integrity of the old globe theatre, McCurdy and Co., of Berkshire, England used Elizabethan building supplies such as timber, nails, stone, plaster and thatched roof. Of course Elizabethan thatched roofing would not stand up to today’s building codes; therefore compromises were made to comply with modern building codes and regulations. The thatched roof in the structure is made in traditional style with Norfolk reeds but coated with a special fire-protective liquid. It is the first thatched roof building that has been allowed in London since the Great Fire in 1666. Also the internal structure was formed from Oak, a slightly less flammable substitute for the timber used during the Elizabethan era. The construction of the Elizabethan era theatre was approximately six months, whereas the construction of the “New...

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