For Shakespeare and The Globe
By Sylvie Berthiaume - At destination
Afternoon and evening can be captivating for any theatre, history and architecture aficionado, on the south shore of the Thames, in the Southwark district of London, where the Middle-Ages and the Victorian era show their presence close to the beautiful Millenium bridge.
The meeting point is at The Globe legendary theatre, whose main author was Shakespeare, who figures certainly among the five most famous culture geniuses in the world.
The Globe today is in fact the perfect replica of the theatre that was built in 1599 and demolished in 1644. It was rebuilt in the 1990s, just two blocks away from the original, using the same round shape, and the same materials, such as wood, lime and thatch. The Globe is also nicknamed "The Wood O".
Opened on the sky and on the world
It still has no roof. It is far from being a default. In itself, it provides an incredible experience, in addition to the one of hearing the author’s wise words on humanity, whether in its macro or micro views.
It is indeed one of the few places in the world where we see a play on open air stage. During summer, the play begins even before darkness, which confers a very pleasant lighting.
The theatre is not round only to the outside, but the inside too. Another unique fact: The yard section has no seats. Admirative spectators have always been willing to see and hear Shakespeare, even standing during more than two hours.
All around, the galleries on three floors offer, according to the price of your ticket, wooden banquettes or stools, to which you can add a cushion rented on the spot.
Before the show, you can visit the exhibit where there are a lot of things quite interesting to see and do.
Absolutely essential promenade
You can reserve a walk in the immediate neighbourhood, guided by an expert in the history of Shakespeare and The Globe. Then you can see the precise location of the original Globe, some vestiges, a wide bronze bas-relief recreating the neighbourhood and identifying The Globe, and of course the portrait of Shakespeare. You also hear about The Rose theatre, which was the direct competitor of The Globe.
The district holds crunchy stories: Being the hub of port activities, there were lots of pubs, bistros, brothels and open-air entertainment, sometimes unfortunately very bloody, such as the "bear-baiting", which consisted to attach a bear to a pole and let it be attacked by powerful specially trained dogs. This kind of cruel show no longer exists since the end of the 19th century.
Conference, exhibit, bistro
You can also attend a pre-show talk or conference on the play. You can visit - with or without a guide - the exhibition in the basement, which recounts the life of Shakespeare, his work, and the daily life of London in his time.
Then at the bistro, you can have a bite and enjoy a glass of wine in the garden, pending to enter in the sacred place.
After the theatre...
Not enough, yet? You can extend the pleasure, by passing by the shop which, apart from the usual tourist gadgets representing Shakespeare, includes a well supplied bookstore to find editions of all formats of his works, in different languages, as well as familiarization items, especially for the kids, etc.
Let’s guess you will promise yourself to put on your bedside table the compendium of Shakespeare’s 154 fabulous short sonnets on time, beauty, love, hate and death.