Globe Theater

By: Julia Rose, Ivan Moreno, Vivian Morano, Kristian Wagner

The Globe

The Globe, built by carpenter Peter Smith and his workers, was the most magnificent theater that London had ever seen and built in 1597 -1598. This theatre could hold several thousand people.

Structure & Audience

Built to the engineering standards of 1599, the famous playhouse was a large circular structure, three stories high. A small straw thatched roof, only partially covered the circular structure, giving it an appearance like a modern day football stadium. The general public, referred to as groundlings, would pay 1 penny to stand in the 'Pit' of the Globe Theater. The gentry would pay to sit in the galleries often using cushions for comfort, and rich nobles could watch the play from a chair set on the side of the Globe stage itself. What’s ironic is that, this is almost the opposite to how viewing plays or concerts are today. Today, the higher priced tickets are close to the stage and low to the ground. A main reason the rich sat high up was because many of the “groundlings” could not afford luxuries back then such a deodorant or perfume, so by sitting high up the rich could avoid the stringent smell of body odor. Those in the pit also had to stand through what could be a three hour performance, rain or shine. For these reasons, this is why it was the cheapest section out of the three.

Pictures of The Globe

Women At The Globe

Theatre performances were held in the afternoon, because, of course, there was no artificial lighting. Men and women attended plays, but often the women would wear a mask to disguise their identity. Women who attended theatre were often looked down upon, in fact if a woman was attending the theatre it was generally assumed she was a prostitute. This is because the theatre was considered an unseemly place, and most people thought that women should be at home with their children.


Theaters were not only used to show plays. There was gambling and in some theaters, there was even bear baiting. Not only were there objections about the improper nature of some of the plays, but there was also the risk of the crowded theatres spreading the Bubonic plague. This happened in 1593, 1603 and 1608 when all theaters were closed due to the Bubonic Plague, or more known as The Black Death. William Shakespeare used these periods of closure to write more plays, and go to his home town, Stratford.

Coming to an End

The Globe was only in use until 1613, when on June 29 a fire broke out at the Globe Theatre . The canon used for special effects, was loaded with gunpowder and wadding. The thatched roof caught on fire and the Globe Theatre burned to the ground. In 1614 the Globe Theatre was rebuilt, referred to as Globe 2.

The Globe Today

Since the Globe Theatre reconstruction opened for performances in 1997, Shakespeare's Globe has welcomed visitors from all over the world to take part in workshops, lectures and staged readings; to visit the exhibition and tour the Globe Theatre, and to watch productions, ranging from original practices to world premières of new writings.


"The Old Globe Theater History." The OLD GLOBE THEATER History. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Nov. 2015.

"Shakespeare's Globe Theatre." Shakespeare's Globe Theatre at N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Nov. 2015.

"Today's Globe." Shakespeare's Globe. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.