This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle, This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, This other Eden, demi-paradise, This fortress built by Nature for herself Against infection and the hand of war, This happy breed of men, this little world, This precious stone set in the silver sea, Which serves it in the office of a wall Or as a moat defensive to a house, Against the envy of less happier lands,-- This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England. ~~William Shakespeare, Richard III

Friday, August 21, 2009

This Day in History...

August 21, 1996 - The new Globe Theatre in Southwark, London, opened with a production of Two Gentlemen of Verona.

The original "Globe" was built in 1598-99 by Shakespeare and his company with the timbers from their previous theatre, "The Theatre." It burned down in 1613 after a production of Henry VIII and was rebuilt in 1614 on the original foundations (just with a tile roof and not a thatched one!). In 1642 the Puritan Parliament issued an ordinance suppressing all stage plays (they thought they were evil and from the devil). The landowner demolished the "Globe" in 1644 and built tenement houses on the site.

In the 1970s Sam Wanamaker decided he wanted to rebuild the "Globe" and set up an educational charity to raise the money. Southwark provides a 1.2 acre site for the project...about 200 yards from the original site. The foundations of the original were found about 200 meters from the reconstruction site, along with the foundations of the "Rose" theatre. Construction on the actual building finally begins in 1993 and was completed in 96. It even has a thatched roof - the first in London since the Great Fire in 1666.

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