The Globe Playhouse: Its Design and Equipment

By John Cranford Adams | Go to book overview

Chapter IV
THE PLATFORM STAGE

I. SIZE AND SHAPE

THE width of the Globe platform stage (hereafter to be called "the platform" has already been considered in an earlier chapter. It was there pointed out that, in an octagonal building designed with 12-foot bays (measured on the inside of the frame) arranged two to each section of the octagon, the distance from the middle post of one section to the corresponding middle post of the next section but one would measure 41 feet.*

The depth of the Globe platform is nowhere specifically referred to; but if, like the Fortune platform, it extended to "the middle of the yard," it was 29 feet deep. At the Fortune, where the yard was square and of slightly smaller dimensions, the platform was 27 ½ feet deep.1 This difference in depth, though immaterial, is in keeping with the subsequent tendency of the platform to shrink to an "apron stage" as the inner stages (from which our modern proscenium-type stage developed) grew in size, flexibility, and importance.2

The dimensions given in the Fortune contract for the platform -- "And which Stadge shall conteine in length [i.e. width] ffortie and Three foote of lawfull assize and in

____________________
*
On pages 22, 45, 90, 92, 95, 97, 98, and 173 of the first printing of this book I stated that the Globe platform measured, not 41, but 43 feet in width. This error, arising from an incorrect reading of my own scale drawings, was first called to my attention by Dr. Charles H. Shattuck.
1
Cf. Chambers, ii. 528.
2
According to Summers, The Restoration Theatre, p. 95, the apron of the Theatre Royal, opened in 1674, projected only 17 feet into the pit.

-90-

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