Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Within this wooden O...

*I received two complimentary tickets to Shakespeare's Globe Exhibition and Tour for the purposes of review.  

For the months of June and July, we don't have any trips planned.
London is typically at its best this time of year,
so we decided to stay home and explore our hometown instead of gallivanting off somewhere.
Not to mention our move to Blackheath in a few weeks.
There is so much to do in London, we will never get to it all.

After visiting The View from the Shard, next on the list was
Shakespeare's Globe for the Globe Exhibition and Tour.

Shakespeare's Globe London

Since our weekend in Stratford-Upon-Avon, I've been dying to visit The Globe.
I must have walked by it dozens of times as we've strolled along the south bank of the Thames.
This time we we got to stop and go in.

Shakespeare Bust

Our visit started with some time exploring the Exhibition.
It's not massive, but extremely informative and interesting.
It starts with the fascinating history of the area of Bankside.

Our tour guide later told us that
"Bankside was the Vegas of it's day."
With the City of London and the Tower on the North side of the river,
the south bank of the Thames is where everyone went for a party.
It was where Tudor London gathered at brothels, animal baiting pits, pubs and theatres
for a little debauchery and entertainment.

The Globe Timeline London Shakespeare

The Globe was one of those theatres.  It was built in Shoreditch in 1576 and was the first 
purpose built playhouse in LondonShakespeare joined the company in the 1580's.
In 1598, after a legal dispute over the property, the theatre was moved south of the river and reopened.  
In 1613, the theatre burned to the ground when the thatched roof caught fire during a performance (luckily no one was killed.)  The Globe was rebuilt the next year and thrived until London's puritan leaders closed all theatres in 1642.
 The second Globe was demolished in 1644.

Model Shakespeare's Globe London

300 years later, a young American actor and fan of Shakespeare, Sam Wanamaker
visited London eager to see the sight of the theatre where the great bard wrote and performed.
He was disappointed to find not much commemorating the spot.

Thus began his life-long ambition to rebuild Shakespeare's Globe.
Which is exactly what he did, just a short distance away from where the other once stood.  Shakespeare's Globe was opened in 1997, sadly four years after Sam Wanamaker's death.
It now welcomes people from all over the world and is dedicated to arts and education.

Shakespeare's Globe 
After the history of the area and the theatre, 
the exhibition took us through the history of the performances, costumes,
special effects, military props, instruments, sets and more. 
They are dedicated to learning and preserving the original techniques used in Shakespeare's day.

Emboridery at Shakespeare's Globe

Exhibition items at Shakespeare's Globe

props Shakespeare's Globe

 I love the costumes.  Often productions will use sets and costumes made entirely with 16th Century techniques.  Which means these beautiful, elaborate works are all made painstakingly by hand using only materials that would have been available during the late 1500's.

Costume at the Exhibition at Shakespeare's Globe

Costume Exhibition at Shakespeare's Globe London

Costume Exhibition at Shakespeare's Globe London

Musical instruments at Shakespeare's Globe Exhibition

Another favorite spot was the audio booths.
You stand in a small space and push a button to hear some of the greatest actors of our century recite some of Shakespeare's best lines.  I just closed my eyes and soaked it up.  I want one in my house.  I would spend hours in there pushing buttons.
There is also a booth where you can record yourself reciting lines.

Audio Booth at Shakespeare's Globe exhibition

After walking through the exhibit for about an hour with our handy-dandy audiotours,
(I never get why people skip the audiotours.  So much information and added fun.)
it was time to meet up with our guide for a tour of the the open air theatre.

Our guide was so friendly and obviously passionate about the theatre and Shakespeare.
He took us into the round theatre and told us all about the structure and how it was built.
He even recited a few lines of prose for us in his rich, booming stage voice.
There is just something about hearing Shakespeare in a British accent that makes it come to life.
(I'm obviously a sucker for a British accent.)

Shakespeare's Globe London

Shakespeare's Globe Stage London

Shakespeare's Globe Stage London
Shakespeare's Globe London

As you can see, the theatre is beautiful.
It has the only thatched roof in London built after the great fire.
It was only allowed because of new technology and flame retardant materials.
And see that flag?  Back in the day, the theatres would hoist up tall flags
to let everyone know on the opposite bank of the river that they were open for business.

Shakespeare's Globe London

And the flag is flying high because the current season is running through October 13th.

Shakespeare's Globe London

Season of Plenty at Shakespeare's Globe London

Planning your visit to the Exhibition and Tour:

Shakespeare's Globe is a working theatre
and the only way to visit the theatre and the exhibition is with a booked tour. 

Be sure to check the schedule online before you go because 
they sometimes have to adjust things around an event or performance.  

Opening Hours

Exhibition: 9.00am – 5.30pm
Tours: 9.30am – 5.00pm

Tuesday – Saturday
Exhibition: 9.00am – 5.30pm
Tours: 9.30am – 12.30pm

Exhibition: 9.00am – 5.30pm
Tours: 9.30am – 11.30am

Guided Tours depart every half an hour between the times shown.
These times apply from 22 April – 12 October 2013.
The Exhibition & Tour is open all year round except 24 & 25 December. 

You don't need to pre-book.  Tickets can be purchased at the admissions desk.

Exhibition and Globe Theatre Tour Prices

Note that this is just for the Tour and Exhibition not for the performances.   

Adult: £13.50
Senior (60+): £12.00
Student (with valid ID): £11.00
Children (5-15): £8.00
Children (under 5): Free
Family (up to 2 adults & 3 children): £36.00

It's fantastic to see that the south bank has once again been restored
to a place where Londoners and tourists flock for fun and entertainment.
A stroll along the Thames path here is one of my favorite ways to spend a day.

And now I can not wait to see a performance at The Globe.

What do you think?


 *I received two complimentary tickets to visit The Globe for the purposes of review.
All photos, writing and opinions are my own.
As always, I promise to be open, honest and transparent with my readers.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

You can find this review and many others in my
London Attraction Guide.


  1. It must have been so cool to go to such a historic place! I would love to visit the Globe Theater one day- just have to make it to London! Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. What female isn't a sucker for a man with a British accent?! I kind of figured that was universal. ;o)

    This place looks amazing. I'd definitely love to see it in person sometime. Especially for a performance. That would be pretty spectacular to see Shakespeare IN Shakespeare's!

  3. I know. I can't wait to see a performance there. Maybe we should get a group of bloggers together for lunch & a matinee!! xoxo

  4. I'm really looking forward to seeing something there. Blogger excursion? What do you think? We are seeing Pride & Prejudice at Regent's Park next month complete with a champagne basket. I'm so excited. I love live theatre, nothing like it.

  5. Tammy, you are so sweet and such an encouragement. I know how you love London. I don't think I'm picking up too much of an accent, but I've certainly noticed a few words showing up in my vocabulary that weren't there before. xoxo


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