It's there today. The Globe Theatre's creation and earliest days are amply covered in the above write-up, from its building about 1598/9 to its destruction by fire in 1613 (said to be by letting a cannon off during Henry VIII
). Rebuilt in 1614, it was closed by the Puritan
s in 1642, and demolished in 1644. Shakespeare's Globe Theatre reopened in 1997.
The re-creation of Shakespeare's own theatre was the dream of actor and director Sam Wanamaker. He conceived it and began it, but sadly did not live to see its completion. The new Globe is the only thatched building permitted in London since the Great Fire, and is as close to an exact copy of the original as achievable, built with original techniques where possible. It is now one of London's premier tourist attractions, and during the summer months (May to September) it plays mainly Shakespeare and other playwrights of his period. The benches are wooden, the stage is exactly as described in the above write-up, and a large number of groundlings stand during the play in the pit ("yard") around the stage.
The honoured name of Globe Theatre has of course been re-used by several other places, the most important and recent of which was that in Shaftesbury Avenue in the West End, originally (1906) the Hicks Theatre, renamed the Globe in 1909. Because of the plans for Shakespeare's Globe to be re-created, this Globe was renamed the Gielgud Theatre in 1994, a fitting tribute to Britain's greatest living actor, and freeing up the name for the project on the South Bank.
That however was merely the use of the name; the thatched, circular, open-air building on the South Bank today is very much the real thing, rebuilt as it was and where it was. Only a few sprinklers in the thatching and green exit signs discreetly conform to modern standards. If it rains, the groundlings get wet (macs allowed, no umbrellas please; and they have to stand all the time too). The prices are of course today's prices too.
The facade and pillars of the stage are richly decorated with faux marble and gilt, and the ceiling above the stage is a midnight blue sky with depictions of the zodiac. The roof rises up rather like a pagoda, and the whole thing has a surprisingly Oriental look for an Elizabethan building. Around these, the galleries are held up by wooden pillars, so any seat misses a bit of the view, and the benches are flat, hard, and backless. Cushions and backrests may be hired as a concession to modern decadence. The boxes on the furthest ends of the Middle Gallery are called the Gentlemen's Rooms, and do allow wheelchair access.
It's unclear what the official name of the theatre is, if any: you also see Shakespeare's Globe, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, and the New Globe. I think it's best to group it here with the old Globe.
Sam Wanamaker (1919-1993) was an American Shakespeare-lover (and father of Zoe Wanamaker, who continued his work) who lamented the absence of a genuine Globe on his arrival in London in 1949. He founded the Globe Playhouse Trust in 1970 and the Friends of Shakespeare's Globe in 1985. Construction began in 1991 on a site provided by Southwark Council in 1970. In 1993 the theatre itself began building and the first performance was given on a temporary stage dedicated by Gielgud. Wanamaker died on 18th December. The first official performance of the completed theatre was on 7th June 1997.
Address: New Globe Walk, Bankside, London SE1
my last visit and a brochure therefrom