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.
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