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Shakespeare’s Globe Theater – Tour, History, and Features

Hello! Today, we’re going to take a look at Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. And I’m gonna take you on a little tour of the theater and talk about some of
its unique features and then we will also learn
a little bit about the history of the Globe Theater. After the bump. Hey everybody, I’m Doug Fahl, your Augmented
Actor. If you’re new here and you want to augment
your acting career with tips, tactics, and tech, consider hitting that SUBSCRIBE button and that notification
bell. And I will give you a gold star. mm-hmm. So I recently took a trip to London and on my travels, I went to visit the Globe Theater and I actually saw one of the
shows there. It was a great experience. I highly recommend going to see a show at the Globe It hands down beat anything I saw on the West
End It was so engaging and so fun to see this show. So I thought I’d do a little piece on the Globe Theater and give you a little
context and history about it. Let’s just jump right in, shall we? I’m at the Shakespeare Globe Theater,
doing the Globe Theater with my parents who are in the background
there. So, come along! Prior to writing all of his masterpieces, Shakespeare was an actor. And he acted in in a company called “The Lord Chamberlin’s
Men”. Now in London at this time, there were
only a handful of companies that were authorized to perform plays. And Shakespeare’s company was one of
those companies, but they did not have their own space. They had to rent space. In this company of actors,
there was a man named Richard Burbage. And Richard’s father was James Burbage. And James Burbage had built one of the first successful amphitheaters in London called simply, The Theatre. In about 20 years they lost their lease on the property and so that
theater was no longer in use. So James Burbage built the Blackfriar’s Theatre, which was also in London. Shakespeare’s company used this theater but, the residents of Blackfriar did not want plays to be performed, so they blocked their
use. And, so all of James Burbage’s money was tied
up. And then he died. [record scratch] But he left an inheritance to Richard and
Cuthbert Burbage and those two entrepreneurs, plus Shakespeare, and four other actors formed a consortium. In 1599, this consortium of actors and entrepreneurs built the Globe Theater and the Globe Theater is one of the
first theaters that was built for a specific theater company. And Shakespeare even owned a share in the
profits of the company, because he put his own money and savings into the building of the theater. They performed shows in the
summertime at the Globe Theater and in the wintertime
at the Blackfriar Theater. When they were building the Globe,
they went to the original site of the “Theatre” Amphitheater and they stole the timber, illegally, and used that to build the structure…
the framework of the Globe Theater. The Globe Theater was wildly popular back
then. People from all levels of life would go and see theater. The Globe Theater was wildly successful for about 20 years. Shakespeare wrote a number of his most famous plays there during that
time. During a production of Henry the 8th in 1613 one of the actors set off a cannon explosion during the show, and it caught the thatched roof on fire and burnt the whole Globe to the ground. But in 1616, the consortium put money back
in and built a new version of the Globe in the same location. This version was a little bit taller…a little
bit bigger and had different construction techniques
than the first. in 1644, the puritans put a ban on theatre in London and the Shakespeare’s Globe went out of business and it was demolished …pulled down to build tenements. It wasn’t until the 1970s that actor Sam Wanamaker had a dream to rebuild the Globe. The new theater opened in 1997. It is a very nearly faithful reproduction
of the original Globe Theater. Couple differences. This theater fits a smaller capacity…1600 instead of nearly
3000 After the Great Fire of 1666, in which a lot of London burnt down,
thatched roofs were banned. Now the Globe Theater had to get a particular license to use a thatched roof. So it is treated and coated. It has a sprinkler system inside and guards against all electrical sparks or anything like that. And so they got a permit to use a thatched roof. There’s also more entrances and exits into
the yard. The stairs to get to the tiers are also larger and more accessible. And they tried to replicate the original feel
and size and space of the theater to the best of their
ability. The new theater is built about 600 feet away because tenement buildings were built on the original location of the theater. Also the river Thames shrunk a little bit over the years. and was a little bit narrower in in the location, so they put it right next
to the river Thames again in its new location, where it exists
now. And recently, they opened a second Jacobian-style
theater inside the Globe property, which has lighting that is completely done by candlelight. The Globe was an amphitheater. Open air…no cover on the roof, except over the stage and in the three story tiered seating around the perimeter. There were two narrow entrances onto the main floor where the Groundlings would go. The Groundlings were basically the commoners…people who couldn’t
afford to to go to expensive plays. They could pay the equivalent of a pound to go and see the show. And they packed the place. Nearly 3000 people could fit into the Globe Theater… standing and seated. And if you’re one of the Groundlings and it
starts to rain, you are S.O.L. You can’t bring umbrellas into the theater. Basically, you would have to endure whatever nature threw your way while you were watching
a show. Now today only about 1200 people fit into the theater and this is largely due to the fact that people
are bigger nowadays then they were back in Shakespeare’s
time so you could fit more of them in back there. And of course now there are zoning regulations
and fire regulations and you can only fit so many
people in legally anymore. And the theater has three tiers. The first-floor tier cost just a few pounds
more. And the price raised for the next tier and the highest priced seats were on the top
tier. The great thing about seeing a show at the
Globe is that everyone could share in it. From the lowest-paid commoner to the highest form of royalty. Even the Queen of England came to see shows
at the Globe. Now when royalty or upper-class citizens
would come to see the show they would most often sit in the side boxes
on the sides of the stage because these were private boxes. A gentleman could afford to rent a private
box and have entertainment by local prostitutes or whatnot in the area. And the royalty…they were there to be seen
as much to see the show. Often times they would actually sit on the
actual stage and they were known to speak back and talk back at the play. Everybody was to some degree. The commoners would throw fruit and yell back insults and laugh along with the
actors. But the roylaty would also be on stage and they would shout out things to the
actors during the show. Disrupt the show. Sometimes stroll in half an hour late to the performance. All of it was sort of an “I don’t care” kind of attitude. And even in some of Shakespeare’s plays, Shakespeare would poke
fun of this royalty talking back to the actors by writing royalty into the scenes. He did this with “Hamlet”. He did this with “Midsummer
Night’s Dream”. Basically, there are scenes when the king is watching the play and making comments and asides while the play is going on. So if you can imagine royalty
seeing that and also making comments on top of that. It would be sort of a meta meta situation. The Globe Theater’s stage is about 5 foot
high. It has stairs on the sides and the front. Actors often make their way onto the stage
for their entrances and exits through the crowd of people. It’s very interactive. There is a bright, shiny mural on the top
of the theater which represents the heavens. There’s a trap door in the bottom of the stage,
which goes down to Hell. And a trap door on the top of the stage where
actors and scenery can descend from the Heavens. The stage also has two large pillars that
support the overhanging roof. And there are tiers on the stage as well for
orchestras, bands (that might be used in production) and then also for storage and backstage space
and dressing rooms…things like that. The seats in the tiers are benches. They are very steep raked benches and they
have very little legroom. They’re very tightly confined. And that would have been the way that is was
back then, when people were a little bit smaller and a little bit shorter. Also, the shows were generally performed during
the day because they did not have artificial light. And they couldn’t use candles because it might
burn down the theater. Now in the last several years the artistic
director of the Globe Theater has started using artificial lighting so that shows can
continue on into the night-time. Actors who perform at the Globe Theater describe
it as an electrifying experience…a real connection between audience and performer. You are right there next to the actors when
you are in the audience. When I was there, I saw a production of “Merry
Wives of Windsor”. And one of the lead actors in the show took
a swig from his whiskey bottle and sprayed it all over everybody in the front of the
audience and then threatened to do that throughout the rest of the show. It was very very fun and engaging. But the actors also have to play way up to
the top tiers and off to the sides and the back to hit the royalty that’s over there
watching the show as well. It’s a real communal feeling. The theater was built like an amphitheater. It’s like a stadium. It’s the same feeling you get when you go
to a ball game…like you’re there in the action. The performers will talk to the audiences. The soliloquies and monologues that are delivered
to an audience are often delivered to just one person in the audience. The actors do not wear microphones. They have to project to a large amphitheater
of people. And the amphitheater itself, I found, was
very conductive to the sound. You could hear actors even when they were
talking very softly. It’s a magical experience to see a show at
Shakespeare’s Globe. If you get the chance, please please don’t
turn it down. This is a rewarding experience that any actor
or director…anybody interested in Shakespeare or history should go take part in. It’s not the original Globe. You’re never gonna get the original Globe. Some people complain and moan about that,
but it is as close a replica to the original Globe as you can get and you will feel like
you are there in Shakespearean times when you go see a show there. Now if you enjoyed this video on Shakespeare’s
Globe, you’re also going to enjoy my video on London’s West End Theatre District. You can find it over there. And there’s some other videos to watch down
below. I hope that you share this video with all
of your actor friends and we’ll see ya next time. Bye!

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