Globe Magazine

A dramatic legacy

   Legacy giving with Terry Pope

4 minute read

      Members’ room       Globe magazine       Autumn 2020

Most people wouldn’t consider a theatre to be as important as their own children when writing a will, but the Globe is fortunate that the late Dr Diana Devlin did.

Speaking about her decision to include the theatre in her estate in 2011, she said, “I really think of it as being one of my own family, one of my children” – which is, of course, fitting when we consider the important role she played in its birth and her long-running contributions to the Globe as a trustee and Deputy Chair of the Globe Council. Diana sadly passed away this year, but her memory lives on through her generous legacy, which will ensure her work is preserved and continued in the years to come.

A black and white photograph of a woman smiling into the camera whilst writing in a notepad

Diana Devlin in the 1980s.

As a charity that doesn’t receive any government subsidies – unless one counts the recent grant to alleviate some of the effects of the current pandemic – the Globe relies on its donors, members and volunteers to help it bring world-class theatre to a diverse audience at accessible prices. One of these long-term supporters is Terry Pope, who has been a volunteer steward at the Globe since he retired in 2011. This in itself is a huge contribution to the theatre. “I think it’s been calculated that the volunteer stewards’ time adds up to anything from £750,000 to £1m per year to the Globe itself,” he says, “so it’s a legacy in its own right.” Nonetheless, Pope intends to leave an official legacy to the theatre as well. In part, he wishes the donation to act as a way of repaying the Globe for everything it has given him over the past 10 years. “I’ve been doing around 250 to 300 shows a year,” he explains, “so it’s been a big part of my life for a lot of reasons, but mainly because of the social thing – it has given me something to do and feel like I’m involved in, and it’s also extended my abilities in many ways.”

As well as the personal benefits, Pope recognises the wider influence the Globe has had on the many people that pass through its doors to witness the spectacle of open-air theatre as it would have been in Shakespeare’s day, and the importance of preserving its history for generations to come. “It’s just unique – it’s an overused word but it is a unique location, there’s only one of them in the world.” He continues, “There’s an enormous historical significance attached to it. And it’s not just the performances – there’s the whole education arm as well as the research and the scholarship that’s attached to the Globe and the library and archive facilities that they’re looking to expand. So the whole thing is much more of an enterprise that’s reaching out to the rest of the world, rather than just another West End theatre.”

‘Stop thinking about it and just do it.’

– Terry Pope

Another reason to create a legacy is that it can offer certain tax benefits. “If you give 10% of your net estate to a charity or charities, you get a reduced rate of inheritance tax,” explains Pope. “Effectively you can give money away and it doesn’t actually reduce your estate by much, so you think, ‘Why not?’ It’s not the main reason, but it’s an incentive to give a substantial amount of money and to do something worthwhile.” And while he would like to see his money spent on “building something that becomes a permanent fixture of the place, or replacing the thatched roof”, he is content to think that the money will “go some way towards me giving back to the theatre what it’s given to me in spades”. For those who are still wavering, Pope has some final words of advice: “Stop thinking about it and just do it. If the theatre means something to you and you feel that they’ve given you something in your life then this is one of the important ways that you can actually contribute towards it.”

A man takes a ticket of an audience member entering a theatre

Terry Pope volunteering as a steward in the Globe Theatre.


For information on how to consider Shakespeare’s Globe in your will, contact the Development team.


This article forms part of the Autumn 2020 issue of Globe, the magazine for Shakespeare’s Globe Members.