03 March 2014

A night out at Londons Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

There is something bewitching about an open air theatre. I settle in to my seat with a rented cushion and warm blanket. Its the last show of the season and I cant wait. I watch as people filter in to take their seats or standing position in the yard surrounding the stage. I hope it doesn't rain, I'm lucky enough to be sheltered but the groundlings (those in the yard) are not and they cannot use an umbrella if it does.

I'm incredibly excited. This has been on my bucket list of things to do in London. Earlier in the day I explored the exhibition and took the tour which held all sorts of interesting tidbits. Then I stood in line hoping someone would cancel last minute and I'd be able to get a seat at the sold out final show for the season. I couldn't believe it when all the people ahead of me turned down the tickets in favour of waiting for yard tickets (yard tickets are only 5 pounds each). Score!

The production was A Midsummer Nights Dream. It was brilliant, funny and, like all Shakespeare's plays, ended with music and dancing. I loved every minute and left with a smile on my lips and a wish to be able to attend another performance soon.

Photo by John Haynes - courtesy of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
Photo by Manuel Harlen - courtesy of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
Shakespeare's Globe Theatre was built according to methods and materials used during Shakespeare's time so, while not from that era, it holds an authentic charm. I found out (if memory serves me right) that back then, Royalty had special seats behind the stage - which wasn't a great position to see the play from but great to show off in front of the audience. The other interesting thing was that they didn't have tickets back then, you rocked up dropped a coin into a locked box at the first level and if you wanted better seats you dropped another coin at the second level and so on. By the way that's where "box office" comes from, those boxes were then taken to the box office to be opened counted.
Photo by Linda Nylind - courtesy of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
The exhibition showed some of the elaborate costumes used in previous productions and the methods use to make some of the costumes in the upper level. On the ground level you could watch a demonstration of the process involved in wearing a costume, practise your Shakespeare in a recording booth or see a demonstration of the printing process of the time.

Photo by Pawel Libera - courtesy of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
It was a great way to spend the day and while I've seen Shakespeare plays before, both in London and at home in Sydney, there is something much more enjoyable about seeing it in the open air Globe theatre.

Photo by Pawel Libera - courtesy of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
The season opens again in April and some tickets are already sold out so get in quick!

Upcoming season
Exhibition and Tour

*Please note that while some images are courtesy of the Shakespeare's Globe Press library, this is not a sponsored post.

Have you seen a play at the Globe?

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