Globe Theatre Story

The iron tongue of midnight have told twelve

  Join us as the City fades away to sleep for an experience like no other with our Midnight Matinées in the Globe Theatre

3 minute read

Hello night owls… our Midnight Matinées are back.

We have a tradition here at the Globe (since the early 2000s in fact) – when most folk are leaving the bright lights of the West End and heading for the tube home, we’re just waking up for our Midnight Matinées.

The witching hour, fairy time, the iron tongue of midnight (whatever you want to call it), as soon as the clock strikes 12, we’re staging a special show for all those who want to revel in the magical atmosphere of Shakespeare under the stars.

But what’s so special about our Midnight Matinées? And what’s it really like watching a play under the blanket of night? Well…

Dark starry sky shown through the roof of the Globe

Our Midnight Matinées start at 11.59pm, as London fades away to sleep.

Do the shows really start at midnight?

Yup, well, one minute before. At 11.59pm buckle up and be prepared to be swept away to worlds of daring heroines, star-crossed lovers and mad kings. It’s a wild ride.

Surely everyone’s tucked up in bed by then?

Nope! In fact, the complete opposite. Our Midnight Matinées are incredibly popular, and we see folk from all seven stages (well, perhaps not the first two) attending. There’s something thrilling about a collected group of people witnessing theatrical magic at night under the cover of darkness…

What’s the audience like?

Picture how the atmosphere would have been like in Shakespeare’s day amongst the Groundlings. It’s loud, it’s rowdy, (we’re not going to lie, there’ll be a few boozy Sir Toby Belch types in the crowd, but hey, that’s all part of the fun, right?), and everyone is having a jolly old time.

Why should I watch a play at midnight, rather than a usual matinee at 2.00pm?

We don’t know whether there’s something intoxicating in the midnight air, but there’s something enchanting about watching Shakespeare in the dead of night. Everything is heightened on stage: lovers are irresistible, fight sequences are intense, dark deeds taking place in the shadows are even more corrupt.

OK, but what else is on offer?

Our friends at Swan Bar & Restaurant are here to whet your appetite. Whether you want a bite to eat before the show, a round of drinks with pals before the action unfolds, or a beverage or two (or three…) to keep you going during the play itself, the team at Swan are open until the early hours of the morning. You can even grab a bacon sarnie for the trip home.

What makes this better than a night out at a top London club?

Well, my friends, we’re just going to say it: Shakespeare. The king of theatre. His plays are filled with love, death, power, conflict, hate, revenge, war, jealously, rivalry, fear, sadness, rage, hope, disaster, laughter. Not only that, but you’re watching these incredible tales unfold in the Globe Theatre. The home of the Bard. No where else can you be placed at the beating heart of the action, come face-to-face with an actor, heckle them, whoop and cheer.

The view of St Paul’s Cathedral over the River Thames at night Watch video

So… let us wrap you in the arms of our wooden ‘O’ for an electrifying experience in the open-air. And as the play comes to an end and you step out through our great oak doors, filled with adrenaline, let the high of live theatre carry you home along the river bank, to the backdrop of a dawn chorus.




After the most challenging year in our charity’s history, we still need our supporters to help us recover.

Please donate to help fund the future of Shakespeare’s Globe.