FA13 THEA 3720-001
TECHNOLOGY AND THE RESOTATION OF THE GLOBE THEATER
Basically, with only three items, the famous Globe Theater of London was blueprinted back into existence, as closely as possible, to its design of 1614. A sketch of the London cityscape by Wenceslaus Hollar in the1630’s, a small excavated section of the original foundation to the theater found in 1989, and an in depth C.A.D. design by Tim Fitzpatrick all contributed to the reconstructed design of the second Globe theater. Modern technology mixed with old world artifacts have produced a new Globe Theater that opened in London in 1997.
Sometime in the 1630’s, Winceslaus Hollar (1607-1677), a displaced Czech artist, climbed to the top of the Southwack Cathedral in London to make several sketches of London. All these sketches were panoramic in nature. One of the pictures included a view of the Globe Theater as it looked in 1614. The Globe Theater in the picture is only about 1 inch across, but was able to provide a lot of valuable information about the building’s structure. Some scholars have stated that this picture is a “topographical drawing”, because of its accuracy and detail. But this picture is only a sketch, not a drawing, because the pencil lines often overlap and many pencil lines are drawn over the top of underlying lines. Still, the picture is very detailed for its size. It is from this sketch that Tim Fitzpatrick began his C.A.D. design.
Tim Fitzpatrick, of the University of Sydney, spent several years researching and designing his
rendition of the blueprints for the reconstruction of the Globe Theater. He worked closely with John Orell, Sam Wanamaker, and the Shakespeare Globe Trust to recreate the Globe Theater as closely as possible to the original. Fitzpatrick used the Hollar sketch for the basis of his work. He designed a 16 sided polygon building with an intricate M-shaped stage cover. This stage cover had two parallel roof ridge structures which each ended in a double gabled roof line. There also was a roof “lantern” between the M-shaped roofs. It was covered with a dome to allow light to come in, but to keep the rain out. Mathematically the interior dimensions of the C.A.D. drawings were compared to the principles of ad quadratum geometry. The dimensions were found to correspond perfectly. Since this was most likely the mathematical principles used to design the original Globe, this added to the assumption that the new C.A.D. designs were close to the historic original design. In 1989, a portion of the foundation of the Globe Theater of 1614 was excavated. Would the new blueprints match the original foundation?
When the new C.A.D. foundation designs were compared to old foundation, they did indeed match. Ted Fitzpatrick and many others were overjoyed. This validation was quite wonderful, yet there are many other “facts” that show us the accuracy of the new C.A.D. design such as: the outside lighting through the “lantern” adequately frame the upper stage, plays can be preformed at the New Globe Theater in day light hours with out any artificial lights, no microphones, speakers, or amplifiers are needed in the theater. Plays can be preformed well with good lighting and sound as in Shakespeare’s day.
With only three items, the reconstruction plans for the new Shakespeare’s Globe Theater were possible. A small sketch made by Hollar, new technology in the form of C.A.D., and an archaeological find, were all instrumental in bringing about the rebuilding of the beautiful new Globe theater in 1997. It is wonderful tribute to William Shakespeare as well as English theater history.
1. Fitzpatrick,Tim. “Reconstructing Shakespeare’s Second Globe using CAD design tool” Early Modern Literature Studies.
2. Fitzpatrick,Tim. “The Fortune Contract and Hollar’s Original Southwack: Indications of a smaller First Globe and Shakespeare Bulletin, 14:4 (Fall 1996): pp 5-10.Izenour, George C.
3. Globe Theater (1988). In World Book Encyclopedia ( Volume G, p. 234). Chicago, IL: The World Book Encyclopedia.
4. Izenour, George C. (1996). Theater Design. Canada: Friesens, Manitoba.
Leacroft, Richard (1973). The Development of the English Playhouse. Ithaca, New York; Cornell University Press.
5. Wilson, Edwin and Goldfarb, Alvin (2012). Living Theater: History of the Theater. New York, New York: McGraw-Hill.