The Globe Theatre, Life in London and William Shakespeare

The Globe Theatre was a theatre in London associated with William Shakespeare. It was built in 1599 by Shakespeare’s playing company; the Lord Chamberlain’s Men and was destroyed by the Great fire of London on 29 June 1613. A second Globe Theatre was built on the same site by June 1614 and closed in 1642. The precise location of the building remained unknown until a small part of the foundations, including one original pier base, was discovered in 1989 beneath the car park on Park Street. In the glory days of Elizabethan theatre two playhouses were fighting it out for writers and audiences.

North of the city was the Curtain theatre, home to England’s most famous actor Richard Burbage. Across the river was the competition, built by Philip Henslowe a businessman with a cash flow problem, the Rose. Shakespeare was one of four actors who bought a share in the Globe. By early 1599 the theatre was up and running and for 14 years it thrived, presenting many of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. In 1613, during a performance of Henry VIII, the theatre burned to the ground all in less than two hours. The theatre was quickly rebuilt.

Shakespeare may have acted in the second Globe, but he probably never wrote for it. Like all the other theatres in London, the Globe was closed down by the Puritans in 1642. Sam Wanamaker had after his first visit to London in 1949 decided to rebuild Shakespeare Globe theatre. Twenty-one years later he founded what was to become the Shakespeare Globe Trust, dedicated to the reconstruction of the theatre and the creation of an education centre and permanent exhibition. After 23 years of researching into the appearance of the original Globe and planning the reconstruction, the theatre was completed.

At the base of the stage, there was an area called the pit, where, for a penny, people (the “groundlings”) would stand on the floor to watch the performance. Around the yard were three levels of stadium-style seats, which were more expensive than standing room. A rectangle stage platform also known as an ‘apron stage’, thrust out into the middle of the open-air yard. The stage measured 13. 1 m in width, 8. 2 m in depth and was raised about 1. 5 m off the ground. On this stage, there was a trap door for use by performers to enter from the “cellarage” area beneath the stage.

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,” and 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 back wall of the stage had two or three doors on the main level, with a curtained inner stage in the centre and a balcony above it. The doors entered into the “tiring house” (backstage area) where the actors dressed and awaited their entrances.

The balcony housed the musicians and could also be used for scenes requiring an upper space, such as the balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet. WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE William Shakespeare was the son of John Shakespeare and Mary Arden. He was born in Stratford-upon-Avon and baptised on 26 April 1564. He was the third child of eight and the eldest surviving son. Shakespeare was educated at the King’s New School in Stratford. When he was 18, he married the 26-year-old Anne Hathaway. They had two daughters Susanna and Judith and son Hamnet, who died of unknown causes when he was 11 years old.

Between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor and writer. From 1594, Shakespeare’s plays were performed only by the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, a company owned by a group of players, including Shakespeare, which soon became the leading playing company in London. After the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603, the company was awarded by the new king, James I, and changed its name to the King’s Men. In 1599, they built their own theatre on the south bank of the river Thames at Southwark, which they called the Globe.

The Globe opened in autumn 1599, with Julius Caesar one of the first plays staged. Most of Shakespeare’s greatest post-1599 plays were written for the Globe, including Hamlet, Othello and King Lear. Some of Shakespeare’s plays were published in quarto editions from 1594. Shakespeare continued to act in his own and other plays after his success as a playwright. Shakespeare died on 23 April 1616. In his will, Shakespeare left his large estate to his elder daughter Susanna. Shakespeare was buried in the chancel of the Holy Trinity Church, two days after his death.

The stone slab covering his grave is inscribed with a curse against moving his bones: Good frend for Iesvs sake forbeare, To digg the dvst encloased heare. Blest be ye man yt spares thes stones, And cvrst be he yt moves my bones. Shakespeare’ works: •Comedies All’s Well That Ends Well, As You like It, The Comedy of Errors, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Merchat of Venice… •Histories King John, Richard II, Henry IV (part 1 and 2), Henry V, Henry VI (part 1, 2 and 3), Richard III, Henry VIII… •Tragedies Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, Antony and Cleopatra… •Poems

Shakespeare’s Sonnets, Venus and Adonis, The Passionate Pilgrim… LIFE IN LONDON During the Elizabethan Age there was great cultural achievement, particularly in the area of music and drama. In that time, musical literacy was expected in the upper class of society. Many Elizabethans made their own music. Dancing was also a popular activity. The dances were mostly performed by couples. This was one of the best opportunities for interaction between married people. In the Elizabethan Age drama was at the high peak of its cultural achievement for all time.

The very first public theatre in London was built in 1576. Plays were attended by all the people, with the audience reflecting society from the lowest to the highest levels. LITERATURE: •http://www. springfield. k12. il. us/schools/springfield/eliz/amusements. html •http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/William_Shakespeare •http://www. shakespeares-globe. org/ •http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Globe_Theatre •http://images. google. si/images? hl=sl&q=william%20shakespeare&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wi •http://images. google. si/images? hl=sl&um=1&sa=1&q=the+globe&btnG=Iskanje&aq=f&oq=&start=0