Ah well, the hay fever season is here again and this is clearly going to be a bad year. So, until my little blue miracle pills begin to kick in, my posts may be a bit on the short side, as too much working with a screen tends to start my eyes watering with a vengeance. I did, however want to share with you the beautiful architectural designs that you can see to your left. These are going to be used as the basis for the Globe Theatre Company's new indoor theatre intended to mirror Blackfriars, the winter home of Shakespeare's Company from 1608 onwards.
The designs were discovered in Worcester College Oxford and probably date from around 1660. I was privileged to be at a seminar last week where Professor Andrew Gurr, the leading scholar in the study of Shakespeare's theatres, company and audiences, presented these to us and talked about what we could learn from them about the theatres of the time. One of the most interesting points he made was that these theatres were clearly designed for listening rather than seeing. As a result, the best seats in the house were those over the stage, on the stage itself, and in the side boxes; exactly the opposite of what you would expect today. In exploring this in greater detail in order to work out what the audience capacity would be, they have come to the interesting conclusion that if you were a Lord you were allowed 2' 6'' bottom space, if you were a Lady you got 2', but if you were like me, a mere pleb, then you had to squeeze yourself into a paltry 18". As someone I was telling yesterday remarked, "Just like travelling by plane then". There are somethings about human nature that simply never change.