Plans for an indoor Jacobean theatre, predominantly lit by candles are under way. Those of you who are already fans of Shakespeare and the Globe Theatre on the Southbank in London, should find the new theatre equally exciting.
Due to open for performances in January 2014, the new indoor theatre, is to be called The Sam Wanamaker Theatre. Named after the founder of the Shakespeare’s Globe organisation, American actor and director, Sam Wanamaker.
Why have they decided to build a new theatre and what can audiences expect?
Scheduled to stage its first performances to the public in January 2014, The Sam Wanamaker Theatre will allow Shakespeare’s Globe to present plays throughout the year. At the moment the Globe theatre season only runs from April to October. It will also allow the organisation to expand the repertoire of work it presents and to stage Jacobean plays in their intended atmosphere. Anyone who has been to the Globe before to see a Shakespeare play will tell you how different the experience is from seeing a play in a modern-style theatre. The plays are presented as they were originally intended with the audience either sitting on benches or standing as the ‘groundlings’ would have done in Shakespeare’s time. This really adds to the overall theatre-going experience, so the new theatre should bring the same benefits to audiences.
Where did the idea come from?
In the late 1960’s a book was taken from a shelf in Worcester College Oxford, and a series of drawings fell from it. These are the earliest set of design drawings for an English theatre in existence. Originally thought to be by Inigo Jones, they were later understood to be by his protégé John Webb. A large proportion of the understanding of Jacobean theatre design and construction stems from these drawings, and this is the first theatre in the world to be built as a response to them. It will be a Jacobean archetype, which Shakespeare or any of his contemporaries would have felt at home making theatre within. It will seat 340 people with two tiers of galleried seating and a pit seating area. The theatre will be predominantly lit by candles. The edifice has been designed with careful research into the materials, methods, and the decorative aesthetics of Jacobean buildings.
So the finished theatre should please theatre-goers, Shakespeare fans and history buffs alike. If you are looking for something quirky and unusual to do in London, then make a note in your diary.
Shakespeare’s Globe are asking for donations to help with the costs of building this new theatre. You can donate anything from as little as £10 and know that you are helping to create a unique venue in the Capital. To donate visit www.shakespearesglobe.com/the-sam-wanamaker-playhouse.