Explore Shakespeare’s London

Apr 19


Lisa Jeeves

Lisa Jeeves

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Embark on a journey through time as your Gatwick airport taxi introduces you to the vibrant world of Shakespeare’s London. Discover the rich history of English Renaissance theatre and the iconic Globe, where the bard’s legacy continues to live and breathe.


Introduction to Shakespeare's London

William Shakespeare,Explore Shakespeare’s London Articles an emblematic figure of English literature, has left an indelible mark on culture worldwide. Most people in the Western world have encountered his work, whether through school studies or personal interest. His plays and poems offer a profound insight into human nature and continue to be celebrated for their artistic brilliance and emotional depth.

For those visiting London, a trip through Shakespeare's city is not just about seeing the sights but experiencing the bustling life of the English Renaissance theatre. Even before reaching your hotel, a knowledgeable Gatwick airport taxi driver can start your immersion into this fascinating period.

Theatrical Culture in the Renaissance

Shakespeare's era, from 1564 to 1616, was a golden age for theatre in London. The city's theatrical scene thrived from the 1570s onward, attracting audiences from all social classes. This vibrant cultural period continued until the onset of the civil war in 1642, which led to the unfortunate closure of theatres.

Key Theatrical Venues

During Shakespeare's time, London boasted at least 21 theatres. Here are some lesser-known venues that were pivotal to the theatrical landscape:

St Paul's (1575-1606)

  • Location: Near St Paul’s Cathedral
  • Significance: A major venue for child actors who played both male and female roles, competing with the nearby Blackfriars theatre.

First Blackfriars Theatre (1576-1584)

  • Location: Within the precincts of the old Blackfriars Monastery
  • Features: Known for its intimate setting, this theatre was primarily used by child actors.

The Four Inn Playhouses

These venues offered a more intimate setting compared to larger theatres:

  • The Bull Inn (1578-1594)
  • The Bell Inn (1576-1594)
  • The Bel Savage Inn (1575-1594)
  • The Cross Keys Inn (1578-1594)

Second Blackfriars Theatre (1596-1642)

  • Location: Also in the Blackfriars area
  • Significance: This was the winter venue for Shakespeare’s acting company, The King's Men, complementing their summer performances at the Globe.

Shakespeare's Globe: A Living Monument

Shakespeare’s Globe is not just a theatre but a portal to the past. Reconstructed near its original site, the Globe offers a unique opportunity to experience Shakespeare's plays as they were meant to be seen. Visitors can enjoy performances that stay true to Renaissance staging practices, providing a deeper understanding of Shakespeare's artistic environment.

Why Visit the Globe?

  • Historical Accuracy: The Globe prides itself on authentic Shakespearean productions.
  • Educational Value: Learn about the playwright, his works, and his times through exhibitions and guided tours.
  • Cultural Experience: Watching a play at the Globe is a quintessential London experience, offering insight into the theatrical practices of the past.

Conclusion: A Shakespearean Adventure Awaits

London offers a rich tapestry of history, especially for those interested in its theatrical past. From the moment your Gatwick airport taxi whisks you into the city, you’re on a path to discovering the world that shaped one of the greatest playwrights of all time. Whether it’s a planned visit to the Globe or an impromptu tour of historical sites, London holds endless possibilities for those eager to explore Shakespeare’s world.

Visiting these sites not only enriches your understanding of Shakespeare but also provides a deeper appreciation of London’s cultural heritage. So, let your journey through Shakespeare’s London begin right from the moment you land, and immerse yourself in the drama and poetry that continues to resonate through the ages.