Shakespeare and the Globe Theatre

Picture of the Globe Theatre
of William Shakespeare

The Biography of William Shakespeare

  • How was he involved with the building of the First Globe Theatre?
  • Where was the Globe situated? What was it like?
  • Layout, Architecture, Capacity of the Globe Theatre
  • Interesting information about the Globe Theatre of William Shakespeare

Shakespeare and the Globe Theatre

Comprehensive Facts and information about the Globe Theatre


  • The lease of the original 'Theatre' where Shakespeare and the Chamberlain's men performed, expired
  • Burbage tried to re-negotiate the lease with the owner Giles Allen. Allen was a strict Protestant, a Puritan, who totally disapproved of Theatres and Actors! He refused to allow them to extend the lease
  • Burbage, Shakespeare and the company of actors had no alternative but to move out of the 'Theatre' and set up at the nearby Curtain Theatre
  • All negotiations for a new tenancy agreement failed with Giles Allen. He had decided to pull the 'Theatre' down and use the materials to build a new property. The company of actors had different ideas!
  • Apparently a clause in the original agreement allowed them to dismantle the Theatre and make use of the building materials themselves!
  • This is exactly what they did! The players decided to demolish the Theatre and transport the timber to a their new site on Bankside in Southwark
  • Giles Allen was furious! But he could do nothing and the timbers and other material from the old Theatre were used to build the new Globe Theatre


  • The Globe theatre was built by a carpenter called Peter Smith together with his workforce
  • They started in 1597 and it was finished in 1598
  • The Globe was built in a similar style to the Coliseum, but on a smaller scale. Never-the-less it still had an audience capacity of over 1500 people and this amount increased to 3000 when people mingling outside the grounds
  • To announce the opening of the new theatre, the Chamberlain’s Men flew a flag featuring the figure of Hercules carrying a Globe on his shoulders
  • Colour coded flags were used to announce all other performances
    • A black flag announced a tragedy , white a comedy and red a history
    • A white flag announced a comedy
    • A red flag announced a history
  • The structure of the globe was as follows:
    • An octagonal, open air arena about 100 feet in diameter
    • It was made of timber, plaster with thatched roofs
    • The arena was called the 'pit' or the 'yard' and had a raised stage at one end which projected halfway into the 'pit'
    • The arena was surrounded by three tiers of roofed galleries with balconies
    • There were two sets of stairs
    • There was no heating but there was some artificial lighting
    • A roofed structure, which looked like a house, was at the rear of the stage containing props, was supported by two large, ornate pillars called the 'Hut'
    • The pillars supported a roof which was called the ' Heavens ' from which actors would hide and make dramatic flying entrances
    • Behind the pillars was the stage wall called the ' Frons Scenae ' taken from Latin
    • Above the stage wall was the stage gallery that was used by actors, musicians and rich patrons - known as ' the Lord's rooms. to the left and right were the 'Gentlemen's Rooms'
  • The picture below is of the New Globe Theatre stage in London

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