How to experience a Shakespeare play in London's Globe Theatre?

Experiencing a Shakespeare play is a unique and unforgettable event for theater enthusiasts, literature lovers, and history buffs alike. But where better to watch Shakespeare than at the Globe Theatre in London, a venue that has been such a significant part of the bard's life and works? A visit to the Globe isn't just a chance to see a play. It offers a globe-trotting tour into the heart of Elizabethan London, an opportunity to discover the world of Shakespeare’s plays as they were originally intended to be seen. This guide will walk you through the ins and outs of making the most of your visit to the Globe Theatre.

The Globe Theatre: A Snapshot in Time

Before you book your tickets, let's immerse ourselves in the Globe Theatre's fascinating history. The original Globe was an Elizabethan playhouse located on the south bank of the River Thames in Bankside, London. It was here that many of Shakespeare's plays were first performed. However, the Globe we see today is a detailed reconstruction, meticulously researched and built as close to the original designs as possible. It's an extraordinary feat of historical engineering and a living testament to the genius of Shakespeare.

Opened in 1997, this modern Globe was the brainchild of the American actor and director, Sam Wanamaker. His dream was to create a working theatre that would bring the plays of Shakespeare to life for a new audience. The result is an intimate, atmospheric space where you can almost feel the presence of those 16th-century audiences, rapt and enthralled.

Booking a Tour of the Globe Theatre

Seeing a performance is only one aspect of the Globe Theatre experience. To truly understand the significance of this venue, you should consider booking one of the Globe's guided tours. These tours offer an in-depth look at the theatre's history, architecture, and even the techniques used to create performances in Shakespeare's time.

During the tour, expert guides will transport you back to Elizabethan England, explaining how the theatre was constructed, the social context in which Shakespeare wrote, and how his plays were staged. You'll step onto the stage, explore behind the scenes, and even see the workshop where period costumes are made.

Choosing a Play to Watch at the Globe Theatre

When it comes to selecting which Shakespeare play to watch at the Globe, you're spoiled for choice. The Globe has a program that spans the entire range of Shakespeare's work, from his best-known tragedies and comedies to his lesser-known histories and romances.

To decide, consider what kind of experience you're seeking. If it's your first time, a classic like "Romeo and Juliet" or "Hamlet" might be a good choice. If you’re a Shakespeare enthusiast, maybe you'd like to see a rarer play like "Cymbeline" or "The Winter’s Tale." Remember, all are performed in the original language, adding to the authenticity.

Understanding the Intricacies of a Shakespeare Performance

Once you’ve chosen a play, it’s essential to prepare yourself for the unique experience of a Shakespeare performance at the Globe. This isn't like a modern theatrical performance. The Globe uses original staging practices to recreate as closely as possible what it would have been like to see a play in Shakespeare's time.

The actors perform in natural light, just as they would have in the 16th century, and there's a minimal use of props and scenery. The emphasis is on the language, the acting, and the relationship between the players and the audience.

Interesting to note, the Globe's audience is more diverse than in Shakespeare’s time. Today, it includes people of all ages, from all over the world, and from all walks of life. The Globe’s mission, after all, is to make Shakespeare accessible to everyone.

Tips to Enhance Your Visit to the Globe Theatre

Now that you have booked your tour and selected your performance, here are a few tips to ensure your visit to the Globe is as memorable as possible.

First, arrive early. The area around the Globe is one of London's most interesting. Take some time to stroll along the South Bank, cross the Millennium Bridge, and enjoy the views of St. Paul's Cathedral.

Second, dress appropriately. The Globe is an open-air theatre, and performances go ahead in all weather. So, bring suitable clothing and remember that umbrellas are not allowed during performances.

Lastly, immerse yourself in the experience. Let the language, the atmosphere, the sounds, and the smells transport you back to Elizabethan England. This is an experience not just about watching a play. It's about stepping into another time, another world.

In summary, a visit to the Globe Theatre is an extraordinary way to experience Shakespeare's plays. From the guided tours to the authentic performances, every aspect of your visit brings you closer to the world of the bard. So why not take a leap back in time and explore the rich tapestry of Shakespeare's London for yourself?

The Role of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in the Globe Complex

An integral part of the Globe Theatre, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse was named after the founder of the reconstructed Globe Theatre, Sam Wanamaker. The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse is an indoor replica of a Jacobean theatre and serves as a complement to the open-air Globe. The playhouse follows the traditional design of Elizabethan theaters, characterized by a small, intimate setting and a stage illuminated entirely by candles.

As you explore the Globe complex, you will find that the Playhouse offers a different, yet equally engaging, experience of Shakespeare's plays. The Playhouse presents plays during the winter season when the open-air Globe Theatre is not in use, ensuring that theatergoers can enjoy Shakespeare's work year-round.

In addition to hosting plays, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse also conducts concerts, comedy shows, and other events. The playhouse also plays a significant role in nurturing young talent, often hosting workshops and performances by young actors. This commitment to supporting new talent reflects the Globe's mission to make Shakespeare’s works accessible to everyone, regardless of age or background.

When booking your visit to the Globe, do not miss out on exploring the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. Its unique ambiance and rich cultural offerings make it a must-visit spot in the Globe complex.

Conclusion: Making the Most of Your Globe Theatre Experience

The Globe Theatre, with its engaging performances, captivating guided tours, and the rich history it embodies, promises a fulfilling and enlightening experience. However, the true magic of the Globe experience lies in its ability to transport you back to the world of Elizabethan theatre.

Remember to arrive early to enjoy the beautiful surroundings, including a stroll across the iconic London Bridge or a visit to the nearby St. Paul's Cathedral. Dress appropriately for the weather, as the Globe is an open-air theatre, and umbrellas are not permitted during performances.

As you take your seat and the play begins, let yourself be immersed in the world of Shakespeare. Allow the language, the atmosphere, and the performance to transport you back in time. Whether you're watching a well-loved classic like "Romeo and Juliet" or a lesser-known play like "Antony and Cleopatra," you're sure to be captivated.

So, whether you're a seasoned theatre enthusiast or a newcomer to Shakespeare, a visit to the Globe Theatre in London is undoubtedly an experience to be cherished. Book your tickets, discover the magic of the performances, and take a thrilling journey back to the heart of Elizabethan England. Your unforgettable adventure awaits you at the Globe Theatre!