Our performing arts Archive contains unique records which document the history of Shakespeare’s Globe, we hold three distinct collections: the Performance Archive, the Institutional Archive and the Collected Archives.

The Archive is searchable online here.

Our Library specialises in Shakespeare, theatre, performance and Early Modern studies and includes rare books and special collections.

The Library is searchable online here.

Performance Archive

Our Performance Archive documents the creative aspects of theatrical performances and events at Shakespeare’s Globe.

The archive demonstrates the processes that go into a production or event. It contains programmes, prompt books, wardrobe notes, photographs, musical scores, show reports and posters. Our Performance Archive also includes our unique moving image and audio archive, see below for details.

The Performance Archive also charts the development of the experimental ‘Original Practices’ approach to productions that was pioneered at the Globe during its first ten years. Original Practice researched, practiced and analysed Early Modern performance techniques in the context of the reconstructed Globe Theatre under Mark Rylance’s Artistic Directorship (1995-2005). Our collections include the Original Practice archive of clothes, created by Jenny Tiramani, that currently has very limited access.

The Archives are searchable online here.

Photo credit: Simon Annand

Moving Image and Audio Archive

This unique collection documents nearly all performances and events through film and sound which you can watch or listen to on-site at the Globe.

In our moving image archive we have captured nearly all our productions since the Prologue Season in 1996 in both the Globe Theatre and the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. We don’t edit our recordings and we sometimes use multiple static cameras, each placed at different angles to the stage. The intention is to create a view from different vantage points of the audience. Several performances of each play are recorded to reflect the development of each production.

Our audio archive includes recordings of lectures and talks dating back to the 1970’s. We hold many hundreds of Globe Education events including Read Not Dead performances, audio and filmed recordings of over 200 plays written between 1567-1642; Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank: specially designed for young people and lectures, research workshops and conferences.

Our oral history collections include Globe Memories, documenting the process of building the Globe through interviews with the key people involved. We also have a growing collection of interviews with cast and creatives.

Archive recordings are solely for research purposes, and can only be consulted on-site in our Reading Room. Many of our Theatre productions have been recorded for commercial purposes; where available, DVDs can be purchased from the Globe shop, or you can view many productions on demand through the Globe Player.

The Archives are searchable online here.

Institutional Archive

Our Institutional Archive consists of the records created by The Shakespeare Globe Trust and its predecessor bodies. These document the vision of Sam Wanamaker and the decades of planning, persistence and enthusiasm that led to the reconstruction of Shakespeare’s Globe and its continuing history. It includes correspondence, administrative papers, publicity material, fundraising events, photographs..

The Archives are searchable online here.

Supporting beams of the Globe Theater

Collected Archives

We also hold a small number of collections deposited by individuals and organisations related to the history of the Globe.

The most significant is the Pentagram Archive comprising architectural plans, project files and correspondence relating to the reconstruction of Shakespeare’s Globe by the architect Theo Crosby, who was a founding partner of the architectural firm Pentagram. Please note that many parts of the Pentagram Archive have very limited access at present.

The Archives are searchable online here.

Library Collections

The Library Collection focuses on scholarly publications that support Shakespeare and Early Modern Studies, especially in regard to theatre and performance history. The collection also addresses the history, building and use of our theatres.

Rare Books

A collection of rare Early Modern books has been slowly building since the earliest days of the Globe project. They have accrued through the generous donation from many benefactors who engaged with the mission to build a specialist collection in support of our research.

Special Collections

In addition we hold special collections. The Library’s founding collection is ‘The Canadian Library’  donated by the Canadian Shakespearean scholars, David Galloway and Don Rowan. We also hold ‘The John Gielgud Collection’ donated by the Gielgud Estate of over 200 books from his library.  We have further libraries donated by scholars including: Frank Kermode, Dawn Lewcock, Ann Thompson, I A Shapiro’s collection of Malone Society Reprints and Sidney Thomson Fisher’s 19th and early 20th century books on London in Shakespearean times.

The Library is searchable online here.