The Globe Theatre

The original Globe Theatre was built in 1599 by the Playing Company, to which Shakespeare himself belonged. It was destroyed by fire on the 29th June 1613. The theatre was then built by June of the following year and eventually closed in 1642. A modern reconstruction of the original Globe, named ‘Shakespeare Globe Theatre’ or ‘The new Globe’ was opened in 1997. When the Globe Theatre was originally opened in the 17th century it was a defining moment in bringing to life the plays of William Shakespeare.

The theatre also helped to bring together to show the barrier between the rich and the poor was not so great. Seven decades later the new Globe Theatre is still helping bringing people together. Although the barrier between the rich and the poor is no longer great, the new Globe also helps bring to life what it was like to watch theatre back in the times of Shakespeare himself. When looking back to the Globe in the 17th century it was seen as a modern day cinema, which was the first time different social classes were brought together.

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The atmosphere of the Globe Theatre helped take the audience through a different range of emotions; such as making the audience laugh, cry, be scared or angry. This gave people of that time to explore a different range of emotions in a new way. Many people today question what the value of the Globe Theatre is to the United Kingdom; this can be answered in many different ways. When tourists come to the United Kingdom and they visit such attractions such as the London Eye, they go there for entertainment values, when tourist visit the Tower of London they do so for its historical value.

However, when tourists visit the Globe Theatre they are getting educational, historical and entertainment all generated from the Globe Theatre and this is why the Globe is seen a national treasure. When looking closer to the Globe we can see just how it entertains people. This is done by Shakespeare’s plays being actually performed live to an audience, in the conditions of the 17th century. Only using natural light, costumes from that time period and using the original text. Also, the Globe provides an educational and historical value for the people.

Most people who want to learn about the Globe Theatre need to know its history. So whilst people are learning about the background of the original Globe Theatre they are being educated in the process. Such as how people spoke and the language that was used at that time, and with Shakespeare’s original text not being adjusted, audiences then have the chance to fully understand the language of Shakespeare. When tourists visit the Globe’s exhibition, they get told from the beginning of the tour that this theatre is not the original that was built in the 17th century.

Why is this necessary information to be told to the tourists? Is it because their experiences or feelings may change once told that this is not the original Globe? However, when looking at the theatre itself, does everybody that enters it become a tourist, whether they live in the United Kingdom or not? When looking at the layout of the Globe itself you can see how this concept is new to people. In the time of Shakespeare if you were standing and near to the front of the stage you were seen as poor and lower down in the social spectrum.

Whereas if you sat high in the stalls above it showed your authority and your wealth. However, modern day theatres have no standing area and are all seated, unlike in the 17th century in a modern theatre if you are seated at the front of the stage you are seen as being wealthy however if you are seated high upper levels these are recognised as the less expensive seats. This is a contrast to what theatre was like for audiences of the 17th century.

When people go to watch a live performance at the Globe Theatre, most people want to stand and be closer to the stage to feel a part of the performance and understand what it could have been like for actors and the audiences performing and watching at that time. When you visit the Globe Theatre you are expected to see the same exhibition and watch the same plays. However, everyone wants to experience the Globe in their own way, whether you are standing or sitting this is how the globe has a cultural effect in today’s society by giving tourists and British people alike the chance to fully understand the nature of the theatre.

When tourists visit the Globe Theatre they have the chance to understand the English lifestyle, language and culture at the time of William Shakespeare. This emphasises the cultural importance of the Globe Theatre in bringing people not only from across the United Kingdom but from across the world together in understanding the life and work of William Shakespeare. Sites and attractions have evolved with time, especially since the reconstruction and opening of ‘The new Globe’ in 1997.

Tourism is constantly changing but this does not apply to Shakespeare and the Globe because the history of the theatre will keep bringing people together for many years to come, even though new attractions have been built around the Globe such as the London Eye and the Tate modern gallery, people want to experience different aspects of the British culture, weather from an historical angle or an architecture or a different angle altogether, everybody wants different experiences when visiting a site, city or country.

It is valuable that Shakespeare is on the secondary school curriculum, especially in year 9 for the SATS and year 10 and 11’s for GCSE language and literature. Shakespeare was not only situated in the Globe Theatre in London but also where he was born and grew up in Stratford upon aven. Students have been brought up knowing who Shakespeare was and the value of his work, you could say he is the one who brought literature to life and made it. This results him being part of the school curriculum.

Not everybody visits the Globe Theatre or his home town, but everyone knows something about him or a play he has written. There is defiantly cultural value of this site, the Globe Theatre. The thousands of people that visit this site each year appreciate and have or want an understanding of its history. It is clear that the cultural value of the Globe Theatre is that it altogether brings people together, by entertaining, educating, and informing people about the English language and the plays William Shakespeare wrote and performed in the 17th century and what the conditions were like at that time as well.

Britain has created it as a cultural site and today has made a business out of it. Even if citizens do not like the sites, it works and it is not only foreign tourists that visit the site. Overall, the Globe Theatre has great value to Britain as a cultural token of Western ideal, embodiment of tradition and some may say it can represent England and the theatre world.