Plays, Poems & New Writing Photo story

‘Open your gates’

  Take a glimpse into our archives, as we travel back in time to June 1997 for our opening production of Henry V

2 minute read

A group of actors wearing white tunics stand in a v-formation on a stage covered in straw.

Mark Rylance and the Company in Henry V.

‘For me there is a striking parallel between the opening of the Globe and the story of Henry V, that there’s one man who gathers together a disparate group of people and against all odds manages to achieve a marvelous victory or some marvelous vision that no one thought he’d be able to do’

— Richard Olivier, Director

A group of audience members stand before a thrust stage, with a circular timber gallery of audience members surrounding them

The opening of Henry V.

A line of people rest against the edge of a thrust stage covered in straw.

Groundlings lean against the stage.

Can this cockpit hold
The vasty fields of France? or may we cram
Within this wooden O the very casques
That did affright the air at Agincourt?

— Prologue, Henry V

The one thing the Globe universally calls for is imagination, and a shared experience between the actors and the audience.

A man wearing a large hat leans his hand to his mouth.
A man wearing a tunic with the English and French emblems holds his crown under his arm.
A man wearing a traditional helmet and armour.

Henry V was given an ‘authentic brief’ in our opening season and explored certain authentic production methods including an all-male cast, cuts to the text to speed up performance time, doubling of parts, period instruments, historical costume and authentic weapons.

A man wearing a tunic with the English and French emblems, and armour with a helmet adorned by a golden crown.

Mark Rylance as Henry V.

‘I wish everyone could feel what it’s like to come out as Henry V and have people cheer, it’s extraordinary’

— Mark Rylance

An actor wearing armour leans his ear against the wooden oak doors of a timber theatre.

An actor waits for his cue before the wooden doors of the Globe Theatre.

A costume design sketch for a prince with a plume helmet and golden doublet and hose.

Costume notes for the Dauphin.

The Elizabethans had a great love of rich colour. Its combinations and colour was very meaningful, and there is a symbolism to most of the colours they would dress in, which we’ve tried to respect in our production

— Jenny Tiramani, Designer

An actor wears a bright red traditional Elizabethan dress, with corset, puffed sleeves, and full skirt.

Costume for Catherine of France.

‘The clothes are affecting them in their posture on stage, obviously in their behaviour in the clothes, there is a way of moving in these pieces which is not like wearing a suit. There is a physical affect wearing the clothes’

— Jenny Tiramani, Designer

A group of four musicians stand backstage, with a drum, trumpet.

Musicians play period instruments in the gallery.

A promptbook with writing.

Prompt book for Henry V.

Programme for Henry V

Henry V programme.

Show report for Henry V

Front-of-House show report for the day of Princess Diana’s funeral.

An actor wearing a red traditional Elizabethan dress extends their hand to another actor wearing a white doublet and golden crown.

Toby Cockerell as Catherine and Mark Rylance as Henry V.

Thus far with rough and all-unable pen
Our bending author hath pursued the story,
In little room confining mighty men,
Mangling by starts the full course of their glory.

— Epilogue, Henry V

A large crowd of audience members stand watching a play in a circular timber structure.

The Company of Henry V in our wooden O.

Photographer: John Tramper. All materials courtesy of the Globe Archive.



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