When we travelled to Europe for Christmas 2022, as well as seeing family and doing a lot of sightseeing, we were also able to squeeze in a few theatrical endeavours!
I’ve written a blog/review for each…
While I was disappointed to learn that the Globe would be dark for our visit (it was the middle of winter so not entirely surprised) and wasn't as keen to go Henry V at the Sam Wanamaker Theatre as the rest of family were keen to see musicals, I made a plan to visit the Globe anyway and see what I could see.
Well, I discovered that £17 buys you a 50 minute tour so we jumped on that idea. I'm so pleased I did - t was one of the best things we did the whole holiday!
Our tour guide Vicky was extremely knowledgable about not only Shakespeare and The Globe, but also the history of London and we hung on her every word. She had a jovial style, keeping the information fresh and humorous for those who struggle with dates and too much information. I'd seen photos of course, but nothing prepares you to actually be there! A tad disappointed we weren't able to walk on the stage, we stood as groundlings initially as she painted the picture of the original Globe and the faithful recreation in which we were standing. A few modern safety inclusions including more exits and toilets. One of the things we learnt was than in the first Globe they had to leave to toilet in their private Thames sewer, then pay to get back in, so no-one did. So the groundlings, who stood for the whole performance at the base of the stage, really got whatever came to them, from all directions!
We then moved up to the gentlemen's boxes on the dress circle, elaborately painted as they would have been. While we were seated, hearing more of the history of the theatre and other theatres in London, Vicky told us that Queen Elizabeth II sat where I was sitting during the Royal Gala Opening of The Globe Theatre in 1997. Apparently Jane Lapotaire, playing Queen Elizabeth I entered the theatre on a white horse and bowed to Queen Elizabeth II, who promptly bowed back again. What a moment that must have been!
The whole experience was breathtaking and makes me want to return to London as soon as I am able, between April to October so I can actually see something live onstage.
Highly recommend the tour however.