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The Globe Theatre

The Original Globe and the Surrounding Area

The Globe is associated with William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616). It was the place where his plays received their first performance. Although Shakespeare lived a large part of his life in London, he retired to Stratford-upon-Avon in 1613. This picture is the most famous portrait of Shakespeare. It appeared as the front-piece of one of his plays.

The Globe was built in an area of London called Southwark. This is a vital area in the history of London: in Roman and Medieval times it was a thriving centre; in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries Londoners flocked to Bankside to be entertained - in the bull and bear-baiting rings, in the cockfighting pits, in the hostelries which crowded the approach to London Bridge.

  • 1598-9 The first Globe Playhouse built and opened. The first performance thought to be 21 June.

  • 1613 The Globe burns down - due to spar from a stage cannon during performance of Henry VIII - and is rebuilt immediately on original foundations. This time the roof is tiled, not thatched.

  • 1642 All playhouses in London, including the Globe, were closed down by the Puritans.

  • 1644 The Globe was pulled down to build tenements. Its foundations were buried.

The picture to the right, which shows the Globe, is an extract from a woodcut of a map of London.

The Project to Rebuild the Globe


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