Tuesday, 28 February 2012





The original foundation of the Globe Theatre in London was found and rebuilt in the style as it was before. It was built for Shakespaere to perform his plays. The theatre is right at the bank of the river Thames.
I found an article describing the premier of Hamlet in 1601. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.
When William Shakespeare announced a new play, which was to be performed in the new Global Theatre, it was Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Shakespeare himself played the ghost.
A flag went up on the turret, on the theatre, to signal the start of the performance. It started at two and as Thomas Nashe wrote 'the idlest time of the day'. The performances were held under the open sky in summer and winter



Public theatres were only just beginning to be built. At that time there were not a lot of performances given and therefore people flocked to it. The City of London authorities disapproved because actors attracted undesirables, encouraging the poor to waste their money and corrupt young people with shameless posturing.
An act of Parliament in 1572 classified strolling players as 'Rogues, Vagabonds and Sturdy Beggars'. However, many aristocrats loved plays and gave actors their protection. At the time, of the first premiere of Shakespeare's Hamlet at the Globe, actors were almost respectful.
In 1601 at a performance at the Globe the audience had to queue. The theatre could only hold 2000. They had to go through the single-file entrances and drop a penny in the box. If you wanted a cushioned seat in one of the three high tiered galleries and you could look down onto the canopied central stage you paid a six pence. When you paid a penny you had to take a stool. As one of the 'groundlings' you still had a good view. The crowd was in the open space that surrounded the stage on three sides. The aristocrats could hire a box for as much as 12 times more. Whether you were one of the poor or the super rich you could clap or boo just the same.   It was the way in those days.
The playwright Thomas Dekker described the atmosphere as follows, "The theatre was so free in entertainment, allowing a stool as well as to the farmer's son as to your Templar (high ranking), that your stinkard has the selfsame liberty to be there in his tobacco fumes, which your sweet courtier hath; and sit to give judgement on the play's life and death, as well as the proudest carper among the tribe of Critic".
The Globe theatre was in the middle of the hustle and bustle on the Bank side of the Thames in Southwark. There were plenty of tavern, bear pits and pleasure gardens. You would see cart, coaches, shouting tradesmen, church bells ringing, boats man calling on the busy river and if you pay close attention you would hear the three blast of a trumpet from the turret of the theatre announcing the performance is to be begin.

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