A. Watch a documentary about the Globe Theatre. Who was Sam Wanamaker? Why did he decided to rebuild the Globe Theatre?
B. Watch again. Mark the sentences T (true) or F (false). Correct the F sentences.
1 The first Globe Theatre was built by the Lord Chamberlain’s Men in 1599.
2 The first theatre burned down in 1630.
3 It was rebuilt, but the second theatre also burned down.
4 Sam Wanamaker was not allowed to act in the USA.
5 He wanted to rebuild the Globe in Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon.
6 Everyone encouraged him to go ahead with his plan to reconstruct the Globe.
7 He died in the same year as the Globe opened.
8 The indoor theatre is named after Sam Wanamaker.
Sam Wanamaker was an American actor who loved Shakespeare.
He was shocked to discover that the world-famous Globe Theatre had no memorial.
2 F (It burned down in 1613.)
3 F (The second theatre was destroyed by the British government.)
5 F (He wanted to rebuild it in London.)
6 F (Everybody was telling him it was impossible.)
7 F (He died four years before the Globe opened.)
The Globe Theatre
Hello, I’m Charlie. Welcome to Shakespeare’s Globe.
It’s an incredible building. It’s made almost entirely of wood, following authentic building practices, and it has a thatched roof. Believe it or not, this is the only thatched roof that has been allowed in London since the Great Fire of sixteen sixty-six.
In fact, it’s almost exactly the same as the original theatre. The first Globe was built by Shakespeare’s playing company – who were called the Lord Chamberlain’s Men – in fifteen ninety-nine. It looked just like this, but it was about two hundred and thirty metres that way.
The first theatre burned down during a performance of Shakespeare’s Henry the Eighth on the twenty-ninth of June, sixteen thirteen. The company soon had the theatre rebuilt, but sadly this second theatre was destroyed by the British government in the sixteen forties because they believed theatre was immoral.
This site was almost completely forgotten about for almost three hundred years, until an American called Sam Wanamaker tried to find it in the nineteen fifties.
Sam Wanamaker was an actor. He was from the United States, but the government banned him from working due to his political views. He decided to move to England, the home of his hero, William Shakespeare. He started performing in Shakespeare plays all over the UK, especially in Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace.
Eventually, Wanamaker followed his hero’s footsteps and came to London. He wanted to see the spot where the world-famous Globe Theatre had been. He hoped to find a statue or a memorial. He was shocked when all he found was a dirty old plaque.
He came up with a plan to rebuild the famous Globe. In nineteen seventy, he launched the Shakespeare Globe Trust and put his plan into action. But it wasn’t easy. First of all, he tried to find out the size of the original theatre. But the owners of the site refused to have an archaeological survey carried out.
Then he struggled to buy this riverside site from the local council. All this time, everybody was telling him that a true reconstruction of the Globe was impossible.
But Wanamaker didn’t give up. He managed to buy the site, and with the help of historical advisers and extensive research, he had a theatre built that was as close as possible to Shakespeare’s fifteen ninety-nine playhouse.
Sadly, Wanamaker died four years before Shakespeare’s Globe opened in nineteen ninety-seven. He is remembered as the ‘visionary who re-created Shakespeare’s Globe’, and the theatre he worked so hard to rebuild has been a huge success.
Today it’s a fantastic place to see Shakespeare’s famous plays. There are eight hundred and fifty-seven seats in the stalls, and seven hundred people can stand in the pit, an area with no seats which is in front of the stage.
Attached to the outdoor theatre is a modern building. The Globe Exhibition and Tour is here, housing the largest permanent exhibition on Shakespeare in the world. This explores the life of Shakespeare and re-creates the London he lived in.
Since twenty fourteen, there has also been an indoor theatre on the site, which, like the Globe, looks and feels like a theatre from Shakespeare’s time. It was built using plans from the seventeenth century. The interior is made of oak wood. Above the stage there is a musician’s gallery and a beautifully painted ceiling. There are no electric lights on stage – all the lighting is provided by candlelight, giving the theatre an authentic Shakespearean atmosphere.
And can you guess what it’s called? It’s the Sam Wanamaker playhouse, in honour of the man who made all of this possible.
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