The Globe Theatre, Life in London and William Shakespeare

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The Globe Theatre was a theatre in London associated with William Shakespeare. It was built in 1599 by Shakespeare's playing company; the Lord Chamberlain’s Men and was destroyed by the Great fire of London on 29 June 1613. A second Globe Theatre was built on the same site by June 1614 and closed in 1642. The precise location of the building remained unknown until a small part of the foundations, including one original pier base, was discovered in 1989 beneath the car park on Park Street. In the glory days of Elizabethan theatre two playhouses were fighting it out for writers and audiences. North of the city was the Curtain theatre, home to England’s most famous actor Richard Burbage. Across the river was the competition, built by Philip Henslowe a businessman with a cash flow problem, the Rose. Shakespeare was one of four actors who bought a share in the Globe. By early 1599 the theatre was up and running and for 14 years it thrived, presenting many of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. In 1613, during a performance of Henry VIII, the theatre burned to the ground all in less than two hours. The theatre was quickly rebuilt. Shakespeare may have acted in the second Globe, but he probably never wrote for it. Like all the other theatres in London, the Globe was closed down by the Puritans in 1642. Sam Wanamaker had after his first visit to London in 1949 decided to rebuild Shakespeare Globe theatre. Twenty-one years later he founded what was to become the Shakespeare Globe Trust, dedicated to the reconstruction of the theatre and the creation of an education centre and permanent exhibition. After 23 years of researching into the appearance of the original Globe and planning the reconstruction, the theatre was completed.

At the base of the stage, there was an area called the pit, where, for a penny, people (the "groundlings") would stand on the floor to watch the performance. Around the...
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