Shakespeare's Globe is one of my favourite places in London.
If you asked me why, I'd say there are lots of reasons. My interest in Shakespeare started pretty early: I can clearly remember being asked to read Sir Toby Belch's lines from Twelfth Night in class aged about 11 or 12, and, just like Latin and languages (at the time!), I was fascinated by the pull between the familiarity and strangeness of the words... Also, the sweet feeling of release when you were allowed to talk out loud in class...
Then, my Mum and I became regular visitors to Stratford-upon-Avon; as tourists, as something to do with your youngest kid when the others were off having fun; as people for whom anything recognisably historic, particularly Tudor, was going to be of interest...
When I played Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream aged 14, learning the lines felt quite easy; it was the same when we were asked to study Othello for A Level. I was quite happy noodling away reading A C Bradley's thoughts on the Moor (totally unnecessary for passing A Level) while my French grades slipped: the result was 100% in the "Shakespeare and the Drama" module, which really stood for "she's read more than she should."
Mum and I made a cardboard model of the Globe Theatre (the one in London, that didn't exist at the time; this theatre, to my mind, was from ancient history) when I was still a young teenager. It wasn't easy either; it was fiddly, awkward and took what felt like a very long time to complete. The sense of accomplishment (combined with the smell of the glue) when we were finally finished was amazing.
Shakespeare in Love came out on video, and probably around the year I took a module called "Stage to Page to Stage" about how to actually put Shakespeare's words on stage. Joseph Fiennes plus a relatively sexy tutor meant my lifelong fascination was complete.
When I was a language teacher, I took one of my more proficient students to see A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Globe, having explained the love potions and silly plot to her beforehand; it was great, and she loved it too. Since I started reviewing for londonist, they've been kind enough to offer me review tickets many times, and I've always enjoyed the experience, if not every play.
It's just a classy place: the staff, the programmes, the posters, the standing for a fiver, the shop, pretty much everything about The Globe pleases me. Just seeing a picture of it, looking so pristinely black and white, so pleasingly built-for-purpose, so alien to the modern blocks around it, will make me smile.
Recently, I've been engrossed by this blog by Tara Hale about her designs for the new season's programmes.
And then there's two these two bits of exciting news from the Globe in just one day. First, that the Globe team are as suitably ambitious about celebrating multiculturalism in 2012 as we are with our World in London blog:
Twenty-eight plays. Twenty-eight languages. The simplicity of it is lovely. The incredible amounts of work involved; terrifying. I can't imagine how hard it must be having, say, four different acting companies using one theatre, its rehearsal rooms, dressing rooms, props cupboards. Making it run smoothly with 28 just seems gobsmacking. Artistic Director Dominic Dromgoole described the festival as "terrifically clear and simple and slightly bananas". Got to agree with him there.
And secondly, that they're expanding. From 2013, the Globe's season will no longer run from around Shakespeare's birthday (23 April) to around mine (10 October). They'll be doing shows indoors as well.
I'm so chuffed with this news. Below are some of the pictures of what this new theatre will look like.
|Exterior of the indoor Jacobean theatre at Shakespeare's Globe. Photo by Nick Robins|
|Model box interior of the proposed indoor Jacobea theatre. Created by Jonathan Fensom, photo by Fiona Moorhead|
|Plans for an indoor Jacobean theatre, by kind permission of the Provost and Fellows of Worcester College Oxford|
So, we'll be able to see plays like The Tempest, The Winter’s Tale, Pericles and Cymbeline in a theatre super-similar to the ones they were written for, from as early as winter 2013. I can only imagine good things will come of the Globe's company having more space and more time to fill.