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Shakespeare’s Globe to open indoor Jacobean theatre on Bankside in 2013

London SE1 website team

Shakespeare's Globe has confirmed plans to start work on the completion of an indoor Jacobean theatre, the shell of which already exists in New Globe Walk.

The fundraising campaign will launch next month with a view to starting major construction work in November 2012, and launch the theatre, with a first winter season, in November 2013. 

The indoor theatre will seat around 320 people, with two tiers of galleried seating and an authentic pit seating area which will provide a uniquely intimate and intense theatre experience. 

"The faithful recreation of the Globe 14 years ago revolutionised people's ideas of what a theatre can, could and should be," says artistic director Dominic Dromgoole.

"The recreation of an indoor Jacobean theatre, the closest simulacrum of Shakespeare's own Blackfriars that we can achieve, will have the same effect, and will prove a revelation of equal magnitude."

Sam Wanamaker's vision for the Globe extended beyond the "wooden-O". In addition to a purpose-built education centre, due for completion this spring, he also intended there to be a second indoor theatre space – the skin of which was incorporated into the blueprint of the Globe complex. 

When Shakespeare's Globe finally opened in 1997 after more than 27 years' planning and four years' construction, the indoor Jacobean theatre was left as a shell, to be divided and partitioned into rooms for education workshops and rehearsals. 

Now, 14 years after the theatre opened, the Globe is about to embark on the restoration of this indoor theatre to its intended purpose.

Designs for the indoor theatre are based around a set of plans discovered in the 1960s in the collection at Worcester College Library in Oxford. The designs show a small seventeenth-century indoor theatre, similar in shape and design to the Blackfriars theatre across the river from Bankside which was a U-shaped galleried auditorium embracing a platform stage. 

These plans, originally thought to be drawn by celebrated Renaissance architect Inigo Jones, though now thought to be by his protégé John Webb, are the earliest plans for an English theatre in existence, and remain the best indication of the nature of an indoor Jacobean Theatre.

The indoor theatre will provide a second stage, allowing theatre productions to play throughout the winter, widening the Globe's repertoire and further completing the understanding of the nature of Jacobean theatre. It will also prove an invaluable arena for Globe Education programmes and further research into Shakespeare's theatres.
Zoe Wanamaker CBE, honorary president of Shakespeare's Globe and daughter of Sam Wanamaker, commented: "The indoor Jacobean theatre is a vitally important contribution to the Globe project.

"The whole idea of the theatre world in which Shakespeare and his contemporaries worked is incomplete without it."

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