The second Globe was one of the most famous and important theatres in history.
The first Globe was built in 1599 on the South Bank of the River Thames. It stood for just fourteen years until, during a performance of Henry VIII on 28 June 1613, a cannon used in the play set fire to its thatched roof and burnt the playhouse to the ground.
Shakespeare and his company, the King’s Men, promptly rebuilt it on the same site. The second Globe was open by June of the following year. This time, the roof was tiled not thatched – and the building had been transformed to a ‘stately theatre’ according to contemporary poet John Taylor, who wrote in 1622:
‘As Gold that’s in fire tried,
So is the Bankside Globe that late was burned,
For where before it had a thatched hide,
Now to a stately theatre is turned:
Which is an emblem, that great things are won
By those that dare through greatest dangers run’
The design of the second Globe theatre took advantage of everything Shakespeare and the King’s Men had learnt from the operation and design of the first Globe and 20 years of working together.
The second Globe, with its distinctive roof and ‘onion dome’, stood for three decades, until the closure of all public playhouses in 1642 during the English Civil War.
It was demolished in 1644 and cheap apartments built in its place.
The experience of Shakespeare’s work performed in the space of the second Globe was so remarkable that ever since the late nineteenth century, actors and academics – and sometimes a mixture of the two – have sought to recreate as much as is possible the ‘original’ staging conditions of Shakespeare’s own theatres.
Yet the second Globe theatre, the theatre Shakespeare and his company built and in which his work was being performed at the time he died, has never been accurately reconstructed, until now.
Pop-up Globe brings these dimensions to life in the first time in over 350 years.