Pop-up Globe is the world’s first full-scale temporary working replica of Shakespeare’s theatre, the second Globe, based on over a decade of academic research.
The second Globe was one of the most famous and important theatres in history.
‘As Gold that’s in fire tried,
So is the Bankside Globe that late was burned,
For where before it had a thatched hide,
Now to a stately theatre is turned:
Which is an emblem, that great things are won
By those that dare through greatest dangers run’ (John Taylor, 1622)
Shakespeare’s company, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, built the first Globe in 1599 from the recycled timbers of the Theatre, their original playhouse. It was situated on the South Bank of the river Thames in London, and stood for just fourteen years until, during a performance of Shakespeare & Fletcher’s Henry VIII on 28 June 1613, a fire caused by a cannon used in the play burnt the playhouse to the ground. The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, now operating under the patronage of James I himself and renamed the King’s Men, promptly rebuilt on the same site and the second Globe was open by June of the following year, 1614.
In building the second Globe, Shakespeare and the King’s Men were able to take advantage of everything they had learnt from the operation and design of the first. They were able to improve and modify the visual appearance of the playhouse. They were able to incorporate the latest technological advances at a time when the innovations in music, costume and scenic design witnessed at court masques were making their way into the realms of public performance. They also had, within their repertory, the greatest plays ever written in the English language.
The second Globe, with its distinctive roof and ‘onion dome’, stood until the closure of all public playhouses in 1642 during the English Civil War, and was demolished two years later to be replaced by tenement housing. Pop-up Globe represents the first time in history an temporary full-scale working reconstruction has been made of the second Globe, the theatre that for three decades was the home of many of Shakespeare’s plays and the company he wrote those plays for.