A replica of the Globe Theatre, where Shakespeare’s most famous works were originally performed, is popping up in Sydney this September.
Sydney is included in the international tour of the Pop-Up Globe, which debuted in Auckland in 2016 to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. More than 100,000 people attended and the season there was extended twice. A second season in 2017 garnered international attention. The company has not yet announced the exact dates it will pop up, the plays it will show, or where the theatre will be, but applications have opened to register early for tickets.
Creator and artistic director Dr Miles Gregory tells Broadsheet he came up with the concept after reading his daughter a book that contained a pop-up of the theatre.
“I began to think about a pop-up Globe and what it would look like and how it would work. Fifteen months [later] we opened the doors,” Gregory says. “It really is an extraordinary adventure started by my little girl.”
The 27-metre-wide, three-storey-high structure can seat 900 people and is based on research by associate professor Tim Fitzpatrick and Russell Emerson from the University of Sydney, making it the most accurate reproduction ever built.
Recreating the interior was particularly challenging because the team only had scripts of plays performed in the theatre to go by.
“We don’t know a lot about what the actual decoration was. But one half of the Pop-Up Globe is fully decorated in Jacobean style, with a three-storey facade, with heaven above the stage and hell below,” says Gregory.
“It’s like a party, we do Shakespeare properly, but we have a lot of fun. There’s swordfights, fake blood and singing and dancing casts,” he says.
The original Globe Theatre was built in 1599 but burnt down after a mishap during a production of Henry VIII in 1613. It was rebuilt and reopened in 1614.
The second Globe Theatre, complete with the distinctive roof and dome, was operational until the closure of public playhouses during the English Civil War in 1642.
In 1644 it was demolished for apartment buildings.
Almost 350 years after the Globe Theatre was demolished, Gregory aims to share the Shakespearean experience with as many people as possible.
“People are turned off Shakespeare in school, but this experience can be life-changing; they come in hating Shakespeare and come out having understood and enjoyed it,” he says.