The Globe Myth

Popular theatre was derived from entertainment given by strolling players

Slide 1 performers on stage 1

Everyday folk attending open-air theatre enjoyed popular fare- rather like the later music hall: tumblers, musicians, comedians, dancers, jugglers and even swordsmen. The crowd was noisy and food and drink was served. And who was there? Apprentices, artisans, boatmen, sailors, servants and the unemployed. Short and simple plays were seen here but playing time was restricted to a couple of hours.

The Globe theatre, Bankside of 1613, was not the home of the First Folio plays


The 30 metre diameter Globe building on Bankside, erected from the timbers of the original ‘The Theatre’ (the original name  used as a term for playhouses thereafter)   which was erected in Shoreditch Fields, could not have staged the sophisticated plays that were published in the 1623 First Folio. It was more likely that simplified versions of  court texts may have been used. The Globe audience, mainly apprentices, artisans, boatmen, unemployed and prostitutes would have been uneducated, while the playing time allowed by law was also insufficient for a lengthy play. Popular theatre entertainment of the time is best compared to the later Music Halls.

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