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Shakespeare's Globe

  • Buildings/IJ/exterior front/CB

When Sam Wanamaker built Shakespeare’s Globe, his hope was that there would be two theatres here: an outdoor Elizabethan theatre, and an indoor Jacobean theatre. The shell of the indoor theatre was built in the 90s, but the inside has yet to be completed. Instead the space has served as workshop and rehearsal studios for Globe Education.

In 2010 we opened the new home of Globe Education, the Sackler Studios, which is located just around the corner from the Globe Theatre. Now we are able put plans into motion to raise money and finish the theatre by 2013.

The Inigo Jones question

Plans of 17th century indoor theatre by John Webbe

Our indoor theatre is based on designs which were found in Worcester College, Oxford, in the sixties. When academics first realised they were 17th century designs of an indoor London theatre, they were attributed to one of the most renowned architects of the day, Inigo Jones.

In more recent years, scholars now have reason to believe that the designs were from the hand of John Webb, Jones's protégé. Details in the drawings point to the typical style of Webb, and the Jones influences in the drawings could perhaps be accredited to the fact that Webb was his student.

The designs show an intimate seventeenth-century indoor theatre, similar in shape and design to the Blackfriars Playhouse (the indoor theatre where Shakespeare's company performed in winter), a U-shaped galleried auditorium embracing a platform stage. These plans are the earliest we have for an English theatre and remain the best indication of the nature of an indoor Jacobean theatre. We will be working from, rather than to, these plans.