To commemorate the birth (in 1564) and death (in 1616) of William Shakespeare, let’s explore Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre located alongside the River Thames in London, England. The site of the current Globe Theatre is believed to be about 750 feet from the where the original theatre stood.
The original theatre was built in 1576 and operated by James Burbage, an actor. William Shakespeare joined the company of actors in the 1580s. In 1613, the theatre burned to the ground after wadding from a cannon during a performance lit the thatched roof on fire. The theatre was rebuilt and remained open until all theatres were closed down for religious reasons in 1642. In 1644, the theatre was demolished to make way for tenements.
The current theatre was the brainchild of American actor Sam Wanamaker. He visited London in 1949 and was disappointed that there was no fancy memorial to the bard. Wanamaker decided to take it upon himself to see a lasting and worthy memorial built for Shakespeare, a place where people could learn about Shakespeare himself, life in the 1500 and 1600s and about the magical stories Shakespeare penned. In 1970, Wanamaker established the Shakespeare Globe Trust in hopes of raising enough money and interest for his memorial. In 1987, the foundations were laid and in 1993, the building of the Globe began. Unfortunately, Wanamaker died later that same year, but his work continued. In 1997, the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre opened for business.
Today, the Globe Theatre is an important destination for many London tourists. The Globe is known throughout the world for its dramatic performances (both Shakespeare’s plays and new works) and its efforts to educate people about life and times of Elizabethan England. To learn more about Shakespeare, Wanamaker and the Globe Theatre, visit www.shakespeares-globe.org.