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Indoor Jacobean Theatre, Southwark, England, UK: Architecture – by Allies and Morrison

4 Aug 2011

The Globe Theatre

Indoor Jacobean Theatre
2011-
Design: Allies and Morrison, Architects

Shakespeare’s Globe, Bankside, Southwark:
The Globe Theatre London
photo © webbaviation

Shakespeare’s Globe Announces Architect for Indoor Jacobean Theatre

Shakespeare’s Globe has appointed Allies and Morrison to lead the design of the Globe’s new indoor Jacobean Theatre. Allies and Morrison have extensive experience in the care and conservation of historic and listed buildings and successfully led the design of the redevelopment of the Royal Festival Hall at the Southbank Centre. They have relevant experience to the Globe’s project in working on the Inigo Jones designed Queen’s House at Greenwich. The Globe’s plans to introduce an indoor Jacobean theatre to its already world-famous theatre site on London’s Bankside will be the most complete recreation of an English renaissance indoor theatre yet attempted.

Neil Constable, Chief Executive at Shakespeare’s Globe commented: “We are delighted that Allies and Morrison will be working with us on this exciting project to continue Sam Wanamaker’s dream of the Globe performing both indoors and outdoors. We are confident that their experience, enthusiasm and skill will enable us to deliver this project to the standards of original detail and period reference that it requires. They will work closely with Jon Greenfield, Reconstruction Architect, and our Architecture Research Group to ensure a faithful and considered approach to the historical references in this project.”

Exterior of the Indoor Jacobean Theatre at Shakespeare’s Globe:
The Globe Theatre London
photograph : Nick Robins

Paul Appleton, Partner at Allies and Morrison continued, “For us, the prospect of recreating, in the heart of Southwark, a theatre for which Shakespeare might have written his last plays, represents an extraordinary privilege.”

Allies and Morrison have been involved in a broad spectrum of cultural and public projects ranging from a gallery for the Contemporary Applied Arts to the realisation of the BBC headquarters at White City. Recent projects include the new state-of-the-art planetarium at the Royal Observatory Greenwich and the restoration of the Royal Festival Hall and redevelopment of its environs. For both attractions the significant increase in visitor numbers is testament to the public acclaim the projects have achieved. The Royal Festival Hall was shortlisted for an RIBA Stirling prize and the Royal Observatory received awards from the RIBA, Civic Trust and AIA/ UK Chapter.

Model Box interior of the Indoor Jacobean Theatre at Shakespeare’s Globe:
The Globe Theatre London
Model box created by Jonathan Fensom, photograph : Fiona Moorehead

Allies and Morrison will work closely with Jon Greenfield as the Globe’s Reconstruction Architect. Jon, supported by Master Craftsman of the Globe Theatre, Peter McCurdy, will advise on reconstruction issues and how they relate to achieving a faithful Jacobean interior, and to ensure that a successful fusion of modern codes and licensing requirements with historical accuracy can be achieved.

The design team is supported by Paul Russell, the Globe’s Project Coordinator, and Flip Tanner, Theatre Planning and Design Consultant at Fisher Dachs Associates.

Project Management and Quantity Surveying services are provided by Phil Elliot of Gardiner and Theobald LLP, Mechanical and Electrical Consultancy services by FHP Engineering, and structural engineering support by Richard Heath at Momentum, Andy Nicolson at WSP Group is the Fire Consultant and David Bonnet Associates are the Access Consultants.

Plans for an Indoor Jacobean Theatre to be recreated at Shakespeare’s Globe on Bankside:
The Globe Theatre London
picture by kind permission of the Provost and Fellows of Worcester College Oxford

Shakespeare’s Globe is currently fundraising for the indoor Jacobean theatre, with a view to begin major construction work in November 2012, and launch the theatre, with a first winter season in 2013. The indoor theatre will seat around 320 people, with two tiers of galleried seating and an historical pit seating area, which will provide a uniquely intimate and intense theatre experience. Shakespeare’s Globe is a charitable trust which receives no annual government subsidy and is wholly reliant on the income it generates from admission charges, commercial activity and private fundraising.

The Indoor Jacobean Theatre at the Globe

Sam Wanamaker’s vision for the Globe extended beyond the “wooden-O” – one of the most iconic and atmospheric performance spaces in London. In addition to a purpose-built education centre, he also intended there to be a second indoor theatre space – the skin of which was incorporated into the blueprint of the Globe complex. When Shakespeare’s Globe finally opened in 1997 after more than 27 years’ planning and four years’ construction, the indoor Jacobean theatre was left as a shell, to be divided and partitioned into rooms for education workshops and rehearsals. Now, 14 years after the theatre opened, the Globe is about to embark on the restoration of this indoor theatre to its intended purpose, with a stunning new interior.

Globe Theatre
photo © Nick Weall

Some of Shakespeare’s greatest plays – The Tempest, Cymbeline and The Winter’s Tale – were written for an entirely different space to the outdoor Elizabethan playhouses. By restoring the indoor Jacobean theatre to its intended purpose, the Globe will be able to further its understanding of theatre practices at that time and explore the unique relationship between actor and audience in England’s earliest indoor theatres.

Designs for the indoor theatre are based around a set of plans discovered in the 1960s in the collection at Worcester College Library in Oxford. The designs show a small seventeenth-century indoor theatre, similar in shape and design to the Blackfriars theatre, a U-shaped galleried auditorium embracing a platform stage. These plans, originally thought to be drawn by celebrated Renaissance architect Inigo Jones, though now thought to be by his protégé John Webb, are the earliest plans for an English theatre in existence, and remain the best indication of the nature of an indoor Jacobean Theatre.

Jon Greenfield

Jon Greenfield started his association with Shakespeare’s Globe in 1986 when he was employed by Theo Crosby at Pentagram Design Ltd to act as ‘Project Architect’. Jon took a leading role in completing the architectural design for The International Shakespeare Globe Centre after Theo’s death in 1994, including securing National Lottery funding and leading a group of specialists to deliver the opening of the Globe Theatre in June 1997.

Working from the Worcester College drawings (as outlined above), Jon developed the design for the exterior ‘shell’ of the indoor theatre built at the same time as the Globe.

Jon is a Practice Principal for the multi disciplinary design company NPS.

The Globe Theatre Indoor Jacobean Theatre information from Shakespeare’s Globe

Allies and Morrison

The Globe Theatre

Building reconstruction
1997

Title: Shakespeare’s Globe

Location: Bankside – south bank of the River Thames
between the Tate Modern and the Royal Festival Hall

Built 1599, destroyed by fire in 1613.

Address: Shakespeare’s Globe, 21 New Globe Walk, City of London SE1 9DT

Contact Shakespeare’s Globe: 020 7902 1400

Globe Theatre London
photo © Nick Weall

Reconstruction on a site close to the original

Nearest Underground station: Mansion House, on north side of River Thames


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Design: Wilkinson Eyre Architects
20 Blackfriars Road London
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Tate Modern
image © Adrian Welch

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Website : www.shakespeares-globe.org