The River Thames outside DLD College London

Touring The Globe Theatre

6th June 24

DLD College London Students outside of the Globe Theatre, London Bankside

Before half-term we took students from Year 9 and Year 10 on a guided tour of the Globe theatre, the playhouse most associated with William Shakespeare. The area, known as Bankside, is a brisk half-an-hour walk along the Thames from DLD College London. Our timing was exemplary. When we arrived, we were told to keep quiet in the auditorium because they were filming a trailer for the forthcoming production of Richard 111. So, we got to see the actor playing the title role recite one of the speeches from the play.

The tour guide was very informative about the performance conditions of the time. Apparently, the original Elizabethan audience would have munched on cloves of garlic as a way of preventing them from catching the plague. One can only imagine what the smell must have been like. Members of the nobility paid their extra pence for the privilege of sitting on a balcony at the back of the stage. This was so that they could be seen by everyone and flaunt their wealth. In contrast, the standing area in front of the stage was open-air. Known as the Yard, this was for the groundlings, the poorer members of the audience who would pay their penny and often get rained on.

After the tour, the group headed down some side streets in search of the actual site of the Globe and its predecessor the Rose Playhouse. These two amphitheatres on Bankside were in direct competition but were, literally, only a stone’s throw away from each other. There was fierce rivalry between the two acting companies associated with the playhouses but there must also have been great deal of collaboration.

It was a lively, informative and entertaining tour and I thoroughly recommend it. Certainly, the students benefitted greatly from it.

Simon Pearson, Head of Humanities and English Teacher