Forsooth! In just a few days, the residents of Sydney will get to experience Shakespeare the way Londoners have been enjoying the Bard for centuries – at the Globe theatre! If you’ve not had the pleasure of attending a play at the Globe, fear not dear friend. Here’s your guide to impressing your friends and family with your knowledge of this historic venue and the man who inspired it.
First things first, take a moment to admire the ingenuity. This is the world’s first full-scale, temporary working replica of the Globe theatre. (Well, technically the second Globe which was built by Shakespeare and his company in 1614 after the first Globe burnt down.) This means audiences literally get to experience the work in the space it was written for – mind officially blown!
Pop-up Globe Founder and Artistic Director, Dr Miles Gregory, says audiences are blown away by the immersive experience of the Globe. “The relationship between actor and audience, the spectacular space itself, together with the power of Shakespeare’s incredible work, means attending plays at Pop-up Globe is totally different from anything you’ve seen before,” says Gregory.
“This isn’t dusty Shakespeare. This is now. Alive. Like a party,” he adds.
There’s room for 900 people in the Pop-up Globe and no matter where you sit you’re never more than 15 metres from the action. But if you really want to be in the thick of things, I recommend the Groundlings. This is the yard directly in front of the stage, where the commoners would stand – kind of like a 17th century mosh-pit. You can’t get a closer or more personal experience. And you might even find yourself in the play!
The next thing you need to know is that, just like in Queen Elizabeth I’s time, there are two companies sharing performance duties: Southampton’s cast perform Macbeth and The Comedy of Errors, while the all-male Buckingham’s players tackle A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Merchant of Venice. Yes, I did say ‘all-male’. Alas, the fairer sex were not permitted to tread the boards back in Shakespeare’s day. So, if you want the truly authentic experience, Dream and Merchant are the plays to go for. But from all reports (and the 450,000 people who have already enjoyed Pop-up Globe seasons in Auckland and Melbourne) there are no weak links in any of the troupes.
Last, but certainly not least, get ready for beautiful, bespoke period costumes, hand-forged armoury and litres of fake blood. Live musicians bring the plays to life, while the actors revel in fiery sword fights, Jacobean trickery and acrobatics and jaunty jigs. It’s like jumping in a time-machine and travelling back to Elizabethan London (thankfully without the rats and the plague).
Oh, and the plays. Let’s not forget the man who has inspired all this is one of the most prolific and entertaining playwrights of all time. The Sydney season features some of Shakespeare’s best known and loved works – really, there’s no excuse not to get amongst it.
Previews begin on 30th August. For tickets or to find out more about the spectacle that is Pop-up Globe, go here. https://popupglobe.com.au/