The New Globe Theatre, Strand

The New Globe Theatre, Strand. Source: Illustrated London News (16 January 1869): 65. [Click on image to enlarge it]

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The Old Globe Theatre, for which Master William Shakespeare wrote some of his plays, and in which, as well as in the Blackfriars Theatre (behind Apothocaries' Hall he often performed on the stage, was situated at a hundred yards distance from the river, on the Surrey side, near tbe end of Blackfriars Bridge, probably on the ground now occupied by the glassworks, east of the London, Chatham, and Dover Railway Station. This was the house mentioned in the prologue to “King Henry V.,” in allusion to its circular shape, as “this wooden O,” since the ordinary farm of theatres was then square or oblong, being as they were a reconstruction of the simple inn-yard, with balconies am three sides around it, where the earliest dramatic exhibitions had taken place. The New Globe Theatre, opened by Mr. Sefton Parry about six weeks ago, has been erected close to St. Mary’s Church, Strand, and in one of the most central positions in London. It stands at Newcastle-street, between Holywell-street and Wych-street, on part of the site of Lyon’s Inn, which was cleared by the Strand Hotel Company for their proposed building. The ground has been excavated, and the floor of the pit is several feet below the street level, bring approaches by a flight of stairs from Wych-street. In the same street are also the entrance to the gallery-stairs and that to the royal box. The ordinary boxes are entered from Newcastle-street and are on a level with the street, so that stairs are avoided; here, too, enter tbe occupants of tbe stalls. The box-circle has five rows of seats, part being regarded as the dress-circlc (at 4 s each seat), and the remainder as ordinary box-seats, at 2 s. 6d. The admission-money to tbe pit 1s. 6d. Above the boxes is a large gallery, the front row in it bring treated as ampitheatre stalls. The first line of the boxes forms nearly a circle, cut off at about two thirde of its extent by tbe procenium. The ceiling is a dome, with a sunlight in the centre. The seats are commodious, and thore are very few places in the house where what is paasing on tbe stage cannot be seen and heard. The theatre has sitting accommodation for 1400 persons, exclusive of tbe eight private boxes. The decorations of the dome and ribs, the procenium gallery, and box fronts are of papier-maché, in white and gold mainly, with a little blue along the bottom of the box-fronts. The crimson curtains of the private boxes, with gilded frames, are effective. The appearance of the whole is bright and pretty. An act-drop, representing Stratford-on-Avon, the birthplace of Shakespeare, wan painted by Messrs. Telbin, but destroyed in the fire at their workshops; another, which is a view of Anna Hathaway's cottage at Shottery, was substituted for it.

The Globe has been built from the instructions of Mr. Sefton Parry, the proprietor, by Mr. Samuel Simpson, of Tottenham-court-road, who built the Holborn Theatre, the Queen’s, the Royal Alfred, and the Gaiety, in the Strand. The whole of the interior decorations are by Messrs. White and Co., of Great Marylebone-street.

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Last modified 29 November 2015