Step back in time and see how they staged a play in the 1590s, by booking a guided tour of the Globe Theatre -- a faithful reconstruction of the Elizabethean playhouse that William Shakespeare performed in.
The tour begins outside on the veranda overlooking the Thames, with an introduction about what life was really like in Southwark. This was the seedy side of London. Everything frowned upon was banished to the southside of the river -- including Shakespeare's plays. Then you will then learn about the theatre itself and how it came to be built, burned down, and reconstructed.
The guide will then take you inside the theatre and sit you down in the balcony seats, and explain how a play was performed in the 16th-century. She'll explain how actors would bound out from the back, charge through the pit, and try and involve the crowd as much as possible -- even using them as actors for the crowd scenes!
Once the tour is over you will be invited to explore the big exhibition underneath the theatre, which goes into more detail about the archaeology of Elizabethan London, showcasing some old props, scenery and costumes from Shakespeare's day.
Craig has been on this guided tour himself, and definitely recommends it. Read his review on of the Globe Theatre tour on his blog before you go, so you get a feeling for what it's like. Feel free to ask him some questions as well. He's also been to watch a play at the Globe as well (Julius Caesar), so you might like to read that one as well. That one gives you a better idea of what it's like to sit there during a performance. Check out our guide to Shakespeare plays in London to see what's on.
If you're a big fan of William Shakespeare then why not take a day trip to Stratford-upon-Avon? It sounds almost unbelievable, but you can still see the original Tudor-framed house that he was born in. You can also visit his grave in Holy Trinity Church. If you'd rather stay a bit closer to home then you can see a few bits and bobs at the British Library, and a Shakespeare's monument in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.
JP1964 – “Some things are so obviously a great idea that you wonder why no one thought to do them before. The Globe Theatre is one such thing. The only amazing thing is that it was such a struggle for the late, great Sam Wannamaker to get permission to build it. Shakespeare is such a part of the fabric of national life, who couldn't resist a visit? This is a theatre like no other. The only other open air theatre that i have been to is the one in Regents Park, but this one is so much better because of the seats rising around you on all sides. It feels like you are indoors. And the standing room is akin to being at a football stadium beside the pitch. You can park yourself literally at the feet of the actors. I definitely recommend a place in the standing area rather than the seats. I have done both, and there is a better atmosphere down below. Partly because the actors address the standing crowd when they speak, which makes hearing the lines a lot easier (Shakespeare is hard enough to follow as”
Guest – “Everybody should go and enjoy a play at the Globe at least once, even if you don't like Shakespeare. I must admit that half the play passed me by, because Shakespeare is hard to follow even when I'm sitting in a nice armchair at home, and if I didn't already know that plot then I probably would have struggled to follow what was going on. But it is such a wonderful place to watch a play. The audience creates bags of atmosphere, and it is a lot of fun. You feel like a little community down there below the stage. Try it!”
Craig’s review – “I consider myself to be reasonably well educated. I'm not quite on the Albert Einstein level, but put it this way: I went to school. I'm not thick. I can do all the usual stuff: I can tie my shoelaces, I can count to ten, I can recite the alphabet backwards, I can say "please can I have a ham sandwich" in French... and that's pretty much all you need to know… continued”
Hamlet at Globe Theatre – 25 Apr to 26 Aug 2018 – This summer the Globe Theatre will be putting on a production of one of Shakespeare's greatest tragedies -- Hamlet.
As You Like It at Globe Theatre – 2 May to 26 Aug 2018 – The Globe Theatre will be putting on a production of Shakespeare's cross-dressing comedy - As You Like It.
Winters Tale at Globe Theatre – 22 Jun to 14 Oct 2018 – William Shakespeare's 'The Winter's Tale' is a story of love and loss and wild and uncontrollable emotions.
King Lear at Duke of York’s Theatre – 11 Jul to 3 Nov 2018 – Ian McKellen will be taking on the role of mad King Lear, in one of William Shakespeare's finest tragedies.
Othello at Globe Theatre – 20 Jul to 13 Oct 2018 – Mark Rylance will be starring in the Globe's production of one of Shakespeare's most celebrated tragedies.
Twelfth Night at Globe Theatre – 6 Sep 2018 – The Globe will be putting on a performance of 'Twelfth Night' - one of Shakespeare's most popular comedies.
Taming Of The Shrew at Globe Theatre – 7 Sep 2018 – The Globe Theatre will be putting on a performance of Shakespeare's outrageous and controversial comedy
If you enjoy Globe Theatre then you might like to visit British Library (catch the train from Southwark to British Library), Charles Dickens Museum (walk it in 28 mins or catch the tube from Southwark to Charles Dickens Museum) and Dr. Johnson’s House (walk it in 14 mins or catch the tube from Southwark to Dr. Johnson’s House)
Disclaimer: Event details can change at short notice and you should reconfirm everything before making plans