The Original Globe Theatre Burns Down (29th June 1613)


Hodge’s conjectural Globe reconstruction (Folger Shakespeare Library)


The Globe Theatre, built in 1599 by Shakespeare’s playing company, was a three-storey, open-air amphitheatre able to house up to 3,000 spectators.

The theatre-goers included the ‘Groundlings’ (the common people who watched the play standing in the pit and paid only 1 penny – in the summer were nicknamed ‘Stinkards’ for obvious reasons), the patrons who paid a higher sum for seats in the galleries and the nobles who could even sit on the stage.
The walls of the theatre were made of wood and the roof was thatched.
Outside the theatre plays were advertised by using a coloured flag: red for history plays, white for comedies or black for tragedies. Above the entrance the words ‘Totus Mundus Agit Histrionem’ were written, which means that the whole world is a playhouse

On 29 June 1613, the theatre was destroyed by fire It happened during a performance of “Henry VIII” when a theatrical cannon misfired and sparks landed on the thatched roof starting a massive combustion.The audience first ignored it, believing it was just smoke from the cannon, but eventually the fire burnt the whole house to the ground in less than an hour. No one was injured other than a gentleman whose flaming breeches were put out using a handy bottle of ale.


21 thoughts on “The Original Globe Theatre Burns Down (29th June 1613)

      1. Molto interessante, Luisa..
        Mi fai ricordare le lezioni sul teatro elisabettiano. Voli due esami: son innamorata di quella forma teatrale.
        Mi piacerebbe che tu ne scrivessi ancora.
        Buon pranzo

        Liked by 1 person

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