Last month, London Society members had an exclusive tour of the Globe’s Jacobean theatre, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. Project Architect, Oliver Heywood of Allies and Morrison explained the challenges of authentically constructing an archetypal indoor Jacobean theatre within a shell built in the mid 1990s. Abi Spooner reports on the visit:
Backstage theatre tours are always fascinating, and this was one with a difference. Oliver Heywood of Allies and Morrison, who led the project to build a Jacobean theatre, delivered so many fascinating angles way beyond the theatrical.
When the reconstructed Globe was built at the end of the last century, architects allowed for an indoor theatre according to Inigo Jones’s plans. It turned out, when this project started years later, that these original plans were actually designed by John Webb, his protege in 1668 – not a Jacobean! Each different element of the playhouse is based on architecture of the period – the arcades from the Bodleian, a Scottish painted ceiling destroyed by fire, and the shape of the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford.