One June 29, 1613, the Globe Theater, where most of Shakespeare’s plays debuted, burned down.

burning-globe

The Globe was built by Shakespeare’s acting company, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, in 1599 from the timbers of London’s very first permanent theater, Burbage’s Theater, built in 1576.

A-63

Before James Burbage built his theater, plays and dramatic performances were ad hoc affairs, performed on street corners and in the yards of inns. However, the Common Council of London, in 1574, started licensing theatrical pieces performed in inn yards within the city limits. To escape the restriction, actor James Burbage built his own theater on land he leased outside the city limits.

Richard Burbage Court of King James, 1604 The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice was first performed by the King’s Men at the court of James I in November 1604. The show starred Richard Burbage, Shakespeare’s greatest contemporary interpreter. No one knows if Burbage blacked up for the part: issues of racism did not surface until the 20th century. The themes of lust, jealousy and betrayal were an instant hit with audiences. Iago, derived from the medieval figure of misrule, became one of Shakespeare’s classic villains not least because he has the play’s largest part, approximately one third of all the lines

Richard Burbage
Court of King James, 1604
The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice was first performed by the King’s Men at the court of James I in November 1604. The show starred Richard Burbage, Shakespeare’s greatest contemporary interpreter. No one knows if Burbage blacked up for the part: issues of racism did not surface until the 20th century. The themes of lust, jealousy and betrayal were an instant hit with audiences. Iago, derived from the medieval figure of misrule, became one of Shakespeare’s classic villains not least because he has the play’s largest part, approximately one third of all the lines

 

When Burbage’s lease ran out, the Lord Chamberlain’s men moved the timbers to a new location and created the Globe. Like other theaters of its time, the Globe was a round wooden structure with a stage at one end, and covered balconies for the gentry. The galleries could seat about 1,000 people, with room for another 2,000 “groundlings,” who could stand on the ground around the stage.

The Lord Chamberlain’s men built Blackfriars theater in 1608, a smaller theater that seated about 700 people, to use in winter when the open-air Globe wasn’t practical.

Blackfriar Theater

Blackfriar Theater

 

My post a year ago today: Townshend Revenue Act

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3 responses

  1. Birgit says:

    I am glad it was rebuilt. What a great way to get around all the red tape-just build it beyond the limits

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