An indoor Jacobean-style theatre is to open within the Shakespeare’s Globe complex in London which will make the venue’s programme year-round for the first time.
The new space will be based on the original Blackfriars Theatre, which Shakespeare and the King’s Men played during their winter seasons.
Its modern incarnation is currently unnamed and will seat around 320 people with two tiers of galleried seating and a pit seating area. It is possible it will be lit by candlelight for performances, although this is not yet decided.
In a statement, the team at the Globe said it “will be the most complete recreation of an English renaissance indoor theatre yet attempted”.
Dominic Dromgoole, artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe, added: “The faithful recreation of the Globe 14 years ago revolutionized people’s ideas of what a theatre can, could and should be. The recreation of an indoor Jacobean theatre, the closest simulacrum of Shakespeare’s own Blackfriars we can achieve, will have the same effect.”
Dromgoole estimated that the cost of creating the new venue would be about £7.5 million to £8 million, of which the Globe has already raised more than £2.5 million. A fundraising campaign for the remaining funds will begin in February.
An indoor theatre was always part of founder Sam Wanamaker’s vision for the Globe, and when the complex was built, the “shell” of this smaller, roofed venue was also created. Since the main house opened in 1997, this area has been divided by partition walls and used as education spaces.
Building work is planned to start on the space in autumn 2012, with the first season being planned for November 2013.