Shakespeare’s New Globe Theatre

My favourite gates in London, or actually, now I think of it, anywhere, are at the Globe. I can’t find a photo of my own, but this should give you the idea.

The Globe Gates

The Globe, incidentally, is a fabulous theatre. Going to see a production there is a magical experience. We’re wimpier than the C17 audiences, so there aren’t any plays on in winter, though you can go on a tour, but if you are coming to London in the summer, book a ticket. Don’t be put off by the idea of being a groundling. It’s fun – except possibly when it rains, but even then, unlike the actors, you can put your hood up, though no umbrellas.

I hadn’t meant to write about the Globe at all. Gates were my subject, so you can see that I feel pretty enthusiastic about the place. We have American Sam Wanamaker to thank for this theatre. He came to London, an exile from his native country, during the McCarthy era. A fan of Shakespeare, he sought out the various places connected with the writer, and was shocked that in Southwark at Bankside, where the original Globe stood, there was just a large plaque in a side street that said that this was the supposed site of the theatre.

Armed with little more than his enthusiasm, Sam set about creating a new Globe theatre. The authorities thought he was crazy. Southwark Council (the council in charge of where I live, the council intent on reducing our library service to a meaningless thing not worth saving) fought him tooth and nail. That same council now exalts the Globe in its tourist information.

He died of cancer before its completion, but his daughter Zoe, a stalwart of the British stage and television screen, though still a US citizen, took over the reins. Apparently, and I think they owe this to their Southwark upbringing, she and her sisters, one of whom for her sins works for the council, all swear like troopers.

Next year, Mark Rylance, the first director of the Globe, returns to act. If you are already in London, grab a ticket for Jerusalem. Rylance’s performance is mesmerising.

I was going to post some pix of some other gates. But I think they can wait.


18 thoughts on “Shakespeare’s New Globe Theatre

  1. The gate is magnificent! I locked on the grapes right away and then the hummer and then the peacock! I have enjoyed your post about the Globe. Sam Wanamaker, the name was extremely familiar and I thought him to be just a character actor. I went to Wiki-who knew?

  2. Beautifully embellished gates – very nice! We’ve been to London twice but didn’t visit the Globe either time. We will have to put that on our “must do” list for next trip…..whenever that may be!


  3. Those gates are so beautiful and intricate.

    Sometimes an apathy takes over when you live with something, and it needs a set of fresh eyes to see what needs to be done. It would be lovely to think that Southwark Council realised their mistake, but I imagine they’ve just jumped on a bandwagon and are milking the Globe as a cash cow.

  4. London is an amazing city and there is more to see and do here than most visitors dream of. I know an Italian woman who thought she had ‘seen’ London because she’d visited the Tower, watched the changing of the guard, and stopped at Piccadilly Circus! She couldn’t have been more wrong.
    The Globe is special, and a different experience of theatre to the West End. Of Southwark Council, the least I say the better, as I am not a fan, though at least the ghastly Nick Stanton is no longer leader.

  5. Isobel I don’t think you want to hear about “the cruise from hell” do you? I have always wanted to go to Tuscany and I told CH, ‘not until we could drive’. You know, drive in that FORD maybe 🙂 Same with England, only when we can drive!

    • Not a good sailor? I thought you used to have a boat? Or not sociable enough for a cruise? I think it would do my head in. But i have read about being able to book a passage on freight vessels, which would dispense with all the Captain’s table malarkey.

      • I’m good crew! I have been boating since I was a little kid and was never seasick once. Got on a smaller cruise boat and first couple of days were a little rough! We did some rocking and rolling the first night. Haven’t been seasick since. We never did the fancy schmancy sit down dinner. We ate at the little cafe like places on the boat.

  6. Love this blog, Isobel – and you have said everything I would have said, especially about Sam Wanamaker, as we were there on Saturday! A glorious day for sightseeing in London. The gates are magnificent and the Globe has been designed with care and simple style.

    Our Globe guide was excellent, explaining that the penny stinkards were so filthy and packed in, that during performances they would have to answer the call of nature where they stood. Later, some of them would have to be peeled apart because the layers of grime fused with the body heat. We’ll probably go back for the Dr Faustus next year but with cushions and rugs!! 🙂

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