Shakespeare’s Globe Theater in London is a must-see for anyone who likes theater or Shakespeare, history, or the art of acting.
The original Globe Theater was built in 1599 by Shakespeare’s theater company but burned down some fourteen years later. A second Globe was built on the same site in 1614 and was used until the 1640s. Today, Shakespeare’s Globe Theater sits in almost exactly the same spot as the original theaters.
It is also constructed very similarly to the original theater, making use of a thatched roof and being open to the elements. There are no elaborate sets, no special effects, lights, or speakers. The theater-going experience is as close to an authentic Shakespearean production as you are ever going to get.
You have the choice of purchasing seats or standing in the open-air pit. Those who purchase seats are protected from the elements, elevated, and have the ability to buy cushions to soften the wooden, bench-like seating. However, I would recommend standing – the tickets are very reasonably priced and it is an incredibly authentic feeling experience watching a play while in the pit surrounded by other rowdy theatergoers.
I was able to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream and was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the acting. The actors were so engaging that you never noticed the lack of settings or props. And even though it started raining as I was watching the performance, it was still an incredibly enjoyable afternoon.
There is a tour of the Globe offered though it is rather expensive and does not actually take you backstage at the theater. I chose to see a play rather than visit the museum and take the tour. Not only was I able to see an authentic Shakespeare production for half the cost of the museum and tour, I am pretty sure I also had a much more enjoyable and genuine experience than the tour could have offered.
If you are in London and have an afternoon or evening to spare, I highly recommend you take in a show at the Globe.