The Globe Playhouse: Its Design and Equipment

By John Cranford Adams | Go to book overview

Preface

THE aim of this book is to reconstruct as fully as possible the design and equipment of the Globe Playhouse. To that end I have examined all available contemporary records bearing on the subject -- plays, dramatic entertainments, playhouse documents, letters, maps, pamphlets, poems, and other material. I have supplemented this examination by consulting stage historians for the results of their specialized enquiries into the dating and authorship of plays, the records of theatre ownership, the organization of dramatic companies, and other matters closely allied to the subject. I have then tried to examine each problem in the light of all pertinent evidence, proceeding systematically through the playhouse from part to part, considering first the structure as a whole, next the auditorium, and finally the multiple stage. The outcome of this method of study, together with a fairly complete citation of the evidence, is embodied in this book. The total result, doubtless still subject in many ways to correction, constitutes, I believe, the first attempt at a complete and unified reconstruction of the Globe Playhouse.

The Globe is the proper subject for such an enquiry because it is far and away the most famous of Elizabethan playhouses. And it is the one most closely linked with Shakespeare. For its stage he wrote the great dramas of his maturity, among them As You Like It, Twelfth Night, Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth. Within its walls the most popular of his earlier plays were revived and applauded. Shakespeare had helped to finance the erection of the Globe in 1599, and, as a member of the syndicate owning and operating the playhouse, he drew such revenues as enabled him to retire to the town of his birth a well-to-do man.

For yet other reasons the Globe is famous. In design and equipment it so surpassed its rivals that within five

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