The original setting of many of Shakespeare's best-known plays, the Globe theatre has had a perhaps appropriately dramatic history. It began life as 'The Theatre' in Shoreditch. Following trouble with the landlord, the actors dismantled the building and carried it across the frozen Thames to be used in the construction of a new theatre on Bankside, which they named the Globe in 1599. The original Globe theatre was destroyed by fire in 1613 during a performance of Shakespeare's Henry VIII. It was rebuilt on a grander scale a year later, but William Shakespeare had taken the opportunity to retire from the stage. His company of players continued to act at the Globe, however, until 1642 when the Puritans closed the theatres. The Globe was demolished in 1644, and for over three centuries, the area became a part of trading London. From the 1950s onwards, the Port of London went into a severe decline, and the once-thriving areas along Bankside became derelict. The time had come for Sam Wanamaker's big idea. In 1970, he founded the Globe Theatre Trust, dedicated to reconstruction of the theatre, and architect Theo Crosby was commissioned to produce the designs.
The new theatre was finally completed in 1997, and Shakespeare's Globe is now one of London's most-visited tourist attractions.
Nicholas Fogg was born in Stratford-upon-Avon and educated at Warwick School and the Universities of Nottingham, Oxford and London. He has had a varied career in social work, journalism and as a teacher at Marlborough College. He is an expert on Shakespeare's life, his works and the history of Stratford-upon-Avon and has lectured widely on the subject. He has written the Shakespeare website for Historica, an international schools Internet project, penned a series of historical books and has long been a contributor to the UK broadsheets. He is a Fellow of Queen's University, Ontario. He lives in Marlborough.