Shakespeare’s Globe to fit library and rehearsal rooms in Project Prospero overhaul

The proposed library extension alongside Shakespeare's Globe. Photo: Allies and Morrison The proposed library extension alongside Shakespeare's Globe. Photo: Allies and Morrison
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Shakespeare’s Globe is planning a major redevelopment project that will create a new library and archive facility, rehearsal studios underneath the theatre and an upgrading of its production departments.

The Globe has submitted a planning application for the redevelopment, called Project Prospero, which will allow the site’s facilities to “better represent the workings of the Globe Theatre as a successful cultural destination”.

The plans are largely focused on the area to the west of the Globe’s site, known as the West Block, which houses its current library and archive. This structure will be demolished to make way for a new four-storey building that will be focused around a “world-class” research facility. Featuring the archive, library and reading rooms, it will be used by students, researchers and Globe collaborators.

The new building will also incorporate an upgrade of the existing exhibition entrance, used by members of the public when visiting the theatre for tours or exhibitions, as well as the addition of a new gift shop.

The plans, drawn up by architects Allies and Morrison, claim that the potential new West Block building has acted as a catalyst to upgrade other support facilities at the Globe.

This includes a remodelling of the ‘underglobe’, the basement areas beneath the theatre, in which additional rehearsal studios and education workshops will be created. A public exhibitions space already located here will be maintained.

Other areas of the organisation located in the West Block, including the Globe’s production workshop, wardrobe, dressing rooms and office space, will also be refurbished and expanded in an extension to the production centre.

The plans have been submitted to Southwark Council with a planned completion date of 2018.

Shakespeare’s Globe did not want to comment while the plans are being considered by the council.