Shakespeare's Globe in London Announces Plans to Complete Building of Indoor Jacobean Theatre

News   Shakespeare's Globe in London Announces Plans to Complete Building of Indoor Jacobean Theatre
Shakespeare's Globe in London has confirmed plans to move forward with the completion of an indoor Jacobean theatre, the shell of which already exists on the Globe site in Southwark.

According to press materials, this will be the most complete re-creation of an English Renaissance indoor theatre yet attempted. The fundraising campaign will launch in February, with a view to begin major construction work in November 2012, and launch the theatre, with a first winter season, in November 2013. The indoor theatre will seat around 320 people, with two tiers of galleried seating and an authentic pit seating area.

Some of Shakespeare's plays, amongst them The Tempest, Cymbeline and The Winter's Tale – were written for an entirely different space to the outdoor Elizabethan playhouses. By restoring the indoor Jacobean theatre to its intended purpose, it is intended that the Globe will be able to further its understanding of theatre practices at that time and explore the unique relationship between actor and audience in England's earliest indoor theatres.

In a press statement, artistic director Dominic Dromgoole commented, "The faithful recreation of the Globe 14 years ago revolutionised people’s ideas of what a theatre can, could and should be. The recreation of an indoor Jacobean theatre, the closest simulacrum of Shakespeare’s own Blackfriars that we can achieve, will have the same effect, and will prove a revelation of equal magnitude."

Sam Wanamaker, who founded the Globe, had always intended it to extend beyond the "wooden-O" outdoor auditorium at its centre. In addition to a purpose-built education centre, due for completion this spring, he also intended there to be a second indoor theatre space – the skin of which was incorporated into the blueprint of the Globe complex. When Shakespeare's Globe finally opened in 1997 after more than 27 years of planning and four years of construction, the indoor Jacobean theatre was left as a shell, to be divided and partitioned into rooms for education workshops and rehearsals. Now, 14 years after the theatre opened, the Globe is about to embark on the restoration of this indoor theatre to its intended purpose.

In a press statement, Wanamaker's actress daughter Zoe Wanamaker, who is also Honorary President of Shakespeare's Globe, commented, "The indoor Jacobean theatre is a vitally important contribution to the Globe project. The whole idea of the theatre world in which Shakespeare and his contemporaries worked is incomplete without it." Designs for the indoor theatre are based around a set of plans discovered in the 1960s in the collection at Worcester College Library in Oxford. The designs show a small seventeenth-century indoor theatre, similar in shape and design to the Blackfriars theatre, a U-shaped galleried auditorium embracing a platform stage. These plans, originally thought to be drawn by celebrated Renaissance architect Inigo Jones, though now thought to be by his protégé John Webb, are the earliest plans for an English theatre in existence, and remain the best indication of the nature of an indoor Jacobean Theatre.

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