Siteseen Logo

The New Globe Theater Reconstruction

Picture of the new stage reconstruction

The New Globe Theatre reconstruction in London, England
The Old Globe Theatre was demolished in 1644. It took the vision and drive of Sam Wanamaker to initiate the development and reconstruction of a New Globe Theater. To create a replica a reconstruction, in London, of the old Shakespearean Theatre.

There were two Globe Theatres in the London of the Elizabethans and Jacobeans. The first was built in 1599. This first Globe Theatre was burnt down in 1613 when a canon was fired during a performance of Henry VIII. A second Globe Theatre was built in 1614 which was rebuilt on the original foundations of the first theatre.

The roof on the second theater was tiled, not thatched! This theatre was demolished by the Puritans in 1644. So the New theatre in  London is in fact the third construction to be built in the same area of London - but 350 years later! Scholars and architects looked at the information available regarding the building and the structure of the old theatre and plans to build a replica, a reconstruction, of the old theatre were drawn. The structure, design, layout and dimensions of the new Globe theatre follow.

The Structure, Design, Layout and Dimensions of the New Globe Theater in London, England

The Structure and Design of the New Globe Theatre

  • New Globe Theatre Design: Structure - Open arena in the style of an amphitheatre

  • Location of the New Theater: In Southwark, beside the River Thames, opposite St. Paul's Cathedral. Approximately 200 yards from the site of the original Globe theatres

  • Size of Site: Southwark council provided a 1.2 acre site for the project

  • Other buildings on site: A museum, restaurant, 300 seat lecture theatre and a Gift Shop

  • Size of New Theatre: Design and Dimensions - 99 feet in diameter

  • Shape of New Theater: Design and Structure - 20 sided circular-shaped building

  • Architects - Design: Pentagram - design based on drawing on maps of London showing the first and second Globe by Norden and Hollar

  • Existing buildings from the period of the old Globe theatres. The 2 storey octagonal market at Wymondham in Norfolk, England and the Queen's House in the Tower of London

  • Builders: McCurdy and Co., Berkshire, England

  • New Globe Building materials: Traditional building materials were used for the structure such as timber, nails, stone (flint), plaster and thatched roof. Compromises made to comply with modern building codes and regulations

  • Structure - The Thatched roof: Design - The thatched roof in the structure is made in traditional style with Norfolk reeds but coated with a special fire-protective liquid. It is the first thatched roof building that has been allowed in London since the Great Fire in 1666

  • Structure - Outer skin of the New Theatre: The outer skin of the structure is made of plaster made of sand, lime and goat hair (goat hair acts as a binding agent)

  • Timber: All timbers are made of oak

  • Excavation works for the New Theater: Excavation of the site begins 1987 The "diaphragm" wall, on the side of Theatre closest to the Thames, is constructed to keep the water out.

  • Foundations of the New Theatre: Design and Structure - Construction work begins on the foundations of the Globe complex and on the Piazza in 1991 . Design and Dimensions - Foundations are 6 metres deep

  • Construction work: In 1993 Construction work begins on Theatre itself

  • Building duration of Theatre itself: 6 Years

  • Inauguration of the New Theater: June 12th - Her Majesty the Queen, accompanied by HRH Prince Philip, inaugurates the New Theatre

  • Overall design and structure of the New Theatre: The open air arena, is called the ' pit ' or the ' yard ', has a raised stage at one end and is surrounded by three tiers of roofed galleries with balconies overlooking the back of the stage. The stage projects halfway into the ' pit '

  • Audience Capacity: Design and Structure - The New Theatre can house up to 1600 people. 700 standing ' groundlings ' in the ' yard ' or the ' pit ' and 900 seated in the galleries

  • The Entrance to Theater: Design - Two External staircases in the structure to access the upper galleries. Four main entrances for the ' Yard ' and the Lower Gallery

  • Access to the Balconies & Galleries: Design - Two sets of external stairs in the structure , either side if Theater.

  • The interior design of Theatre: Interior Design based on the structure of the Old Globe Theatre (see picture of the new Globe stage below clearly showing the ' Herculean ' pillars, the ' Heavens ' & the stage wall called the ' Frons Scenae '

  • Theatre Lighting: Natural lighting only artificial lighting mirrors the effects of sunlight

  • Heating / Air Conditioning: Like the old Globe as the design and structure is an open air amphitheatre there is no heating or air conditioning.

  • Stage dimensions: Design - Stage dimensions in the structure are 44 foot wide 25 foot deep

  • The height of the stage: A raised stage in the structure - 5 feet and supported by large pillars

  • The floor of the Stage: Made of wood and like the old Globe have trap doors enabling special effects

  • The rear of the Stage: A roofed house-like structure supported with the help of two large columns (pillars)

  • The ' Herculean ' columns or pillars : The ' Herculean ' oak pillars are painted to look like marble with golden leaves

  • The ' Heavens ' - a roof area: The pillars supported a roof called the 'Heavens'. The Heavens are painted with the sun, moon and the zodiac. The ' Heavens ' serve to create an area hidden from the audience. A selection of ropes & rigging allow for special effects

  • Behind the pillars is the stage wall called the ' Frons Scenae ' (taken from the name given by Imperial Rome to the stage walls of their amphitheatres). A doorway to the left and right in the structure and a curtained central doorway from which the actors make their entrances. Above the door area is a highly decorative screen

  • Statues, or relief's above the stage: Represent Comedy and Tragedy

  • The ' Tiring House ': The stage wall contains two side doors and a central door which leads to a small structure, back stage, called the ' Tiring House '. The actors use this area to change their attire

  • The ' yard ' - Dimensions: The stage projects halfway into the ' yard ' which is 80 feet in diameter.

  • Seats in the galleries - Three levels. The seats in each of the three levels of galleries are tiered with three rows of seats in the structure , increasing in size towards the back, following the shape of the building. The galleries are covered affording shelter from the elements.

The Structure and Design of the New Globe Theatre

New Globe Theater modelled on the original - Pictures, stage, replica, model theatre
New Globe Theater Timeline - Time line of the replica of  William Shakespeare theatre and Bear Garden Museum, Southwark
Visiting the New Globe Theater - London theatre vacation guide with Elizabethan, Shakespearean map
Elizabethan Theater
Globe Theater
Page Back
William Shakespeare Site Map

Privacy Statement

Cookie Policy

2017 Siteseen Ltd