If you know me, you know that I LOVE William Shakespeare. He is my favorite playwright hands down. So of course, my favorite part of my trip to London was visiting the Globe Theatre.
When we arrived, we had about twenty minutes to look around the museum before starting the tour. It went through some of the history of the Bard, as well as of the theatre. Some of the costumes from recent productions were on display.
What is really incredible about these costumes is in an attempt to remain authentic, the costumes are made out of the same material that would have been used in Shakespeare’s day, and it is all hand-stitched. Absolutely beautiful. There were also instruments and plenty of other displays.
The tour was the really awesome part. We had a wonderful guide; knowledgable, entertaining, he even reminded me a bit of David Tennant.
It started outside, looking over the River Thames as he explained to us that what stands today is actually the third Globe. The first was burned down when a mans pants caught fire from a cannon shot during a performance. The second was demolished in a British Civil War I believe.
Sam Wanabaker came along many years later, and when he found only a plaque to mark where the building once stood, felt that there really should be more by which to remember the great writer. And so he took it upon himself to have the theatre rebuilt, if only slightly off site from the original foundation. He didn’t live to see it completed, but it has since grown into more than he could have dreamed.
Inside, we were able to check out the stage, sit in the seats, go to the different levels. I’ve done plenty of Shakespeare research myself, so I was already very familiar with everything he was telling us, but it was super exciting to really be there. I wish we could have seen a play, but since it is an open-air theatre, their season only runs April-October.
Back inside I saw the gift shop and just about squealed. I would finally be able to dress like the Shakespeare groupie that I am! Also, we were able to become “friends” of the Globe and get a sweet wristband by donating to their Research and Library facilities. They are currently planning to expand it so people can come to study right out of rare editions of plays and manuscripts. I would love to be able to study there someday.
Back in Shakespeare’s day, people believed plays and the arts were a destructive influence. Nobility worried this new, open way of thinking would lead to rebellion, which it totally did. But William Shakespeare decided he was going to write, and grab some actors, put on plays, build a theatre, not let anybody get in the way of his passion. And as time went on, he eventually had the King building theaters for him and requesting private performances.
Now, hundreds of years later, he is renowned as one of the greatest playwrights who ever lived. That is why he is such an inspiration to me. He’s a rebel who came out on top. He disagreed with society, so he did his own thing, and eventually people realized he was right. I love that. And I look at the world now, knowing it would not be the same place without him. Everyone could use a little more Shakespeare in their lives.