PhD Researcher Neil Vallelly reflects on the ‘Globe Outside In’ performances in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse…
From 1609—after Richard Burbage took possession of the indoor Blackfriars playhouse—the King’s Men performed all year round: Globe in the summer; Blackfriars during the winter. Consequently, much of their repertory crossed the divide (or the Thames, more precisely) between outdoor and in. Jonson’s ‘Catiline’, for instance, was first performed at the Globe, then Blackfriars in 1611. Webster’s ‘The Duchess of Malfi’ was originally performed at the Blackfriars, before moving outdoors to the Globe in 1614. The first Shakespeare play to cross the river may have been ‘Coriolanus’ in 1608, but ‘Cymbeline’(1609), ‘The Winter’s Tale’ (1610), and ‘Henry VIII’(1612-13) were seemingly performed at both the Globe and Blackfriars. How, then, did the transitions from outside to in, and vice versa, affect dramatists, playing companies, and the composition of plays in early modern London?
A section from Hollar’s Long View of London From Bankside (1647) showing the Globe and Blackfriars.