The world’s first full-scale temporary replica of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is coming to the Crown Metropol on Saturday, October 5 to present an epic festival of four works in the most immersive Shakespeare experience possible. Featuring stunning Jacobean costumes in the three-storey, 940 capacity replica with litres of fake blood flowing freely, it promises to be a feast for the senses. NATALIE GILES caught up with executive producer Tobias Grant to check out a mini replica of The Globe and chat about what we can expect from this exciting event.
So, there’s three floors and on the ground is the groundlings who literally stand in a mosh pit right in front of the stage.
Yes! I thought they were named like that because they’re standing on the ground but they’re actually named after a fish found in the bottom of the river Thames, and when you look at them from above they appear the same as what the actors see from the stage, with everyone moving about. 940 people can fit in this, and when the fire happened it was reported that there were 2,000 people in there so people were absolutely crammed in on the ground floor. And in our productions, just like in the original Globe, they can get vomited on, pissed on, and covered in blood.
You’re really selling these seats! Vomit, blood and piss!
[laughs] But it’s so much fun! And it’s all fake of course. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream there’s so much blood. It’s all machine washable, it’s all completely fine. But some people choose not to ever wash their t-shirt because it’s a souvenir. And if you really want to be covered in blood, where you want to stand is right beside the staircase in the middle. And stay there in the second half of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. That’s the best tip I can give! It’s so much fun.
But then in the lower gallery area, you’re watching all this happen, and it’s like being at a rock concert. It’s a very shared experience. Then, in the middle gallery, those are what were traditionally the best seats in the house. But the top floor is great too because you’re right under the open roof. Speaking of the open roof, bring a poncho if it’s raining because the show always goes on!
That’s the word for it – it really is incredible. And it’s incredible that we get to do it. There’s nobody else in the world that tours a three-storey, fully-functioning structure. We’re not aware of anything else of this scale.
So have you got plans to take this tour to the rest of the world? Surely Europe would love this.
The thing with this is that it’s on such a huge scale. Our total focus right now is just Perth and having a fantastic season. We can’t wait to open here. And if Perth audiences embrace it, fantastic, we might get to go somewhere else. It only opened for the first time three years ago and we’ve had the tremendous good fortune of being able to sell 550,000 tickets since then.
I love that this started in Auckland and it’s a Kiwi thing that’s just blown up…
Well, it’s actually an Australasian thing. The dimensions of the playhouse have come from two gentlemen at Sydney University, and associate professor Tim Fitzpatrick sent me an email the other day saying “it’s so great you’re going to Perth as we collaborated with the University of Western Australia in doing the research!” So yeah, it started in Auckland but it was Australian researchers and builders who actually put it all together. We have partners in Sydney and Melbourne, so it’s very much an Australasian endeavour.
They’re from an international casting company. So we’re bringing two casts who will each perform in two productions. One cast performs Hamlet and Measure for Measure, the other does A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Twelfth Night. So in one day, they might perform twice, doing one play then the other. It keeps it fascinating for them and for the audience because the building is extraordinary.
It’s a time machine, so audiences tend to come back for more than one performance. It really does transport you back 350 years. People tend to think they’ll just come and see it once, and that will do them, but what they find is that it’s a whole lot of fun! So a lot of people will come and see a tragedy and then will want to follow it up with a comedy, or vice versa. So seeing the same cast in each format is really interesting. Plus it’s what happened in Shakespeare’s time.
Speaking of what happened in that time, my mates have asked if they can BYO veggies to throw at the actors like they did back then? You know, just to help out with authenticity…
[laughs] The short answer is no! But I like their enthusiasm!
Photos by Linda Dunjey