12 June 1997 saw the opening of the modern reconstruction of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. The Queen opened the theatre whereupon Henry V was staged. Based on the evidence available, it is an approximation of the original design and located 750 feet from the original site, now being situated on the banks of the river Thames.
The original Globe was built in 1598 and enjoyed by Elizabeth 1 who attended some of Shakespeare’s plays. The theatre was also reputed to be a gambling house and brothel. It was burned to the ground in 1613 when a cannon in a Henry VIII play set fire to the thatched roof. A new one was built before Shakespeare died in 1616, with the new globe operating until the Puritans tore it down in 1644. Leaving a 350 year gap before it was reinstated.
Shakespeare continues to be entrenched in the school curriculum. Gerry Swain, director of the Education Department’s English programme says that studying Shakespeare is worthwhile because “it develops an active approach to human relationships and motivation as well as language.” Along with the traditional methods of learning Shakespeare is very much accessible via 21st century means. The Royal Shakespeare company provide plays using 140 characters on Twitter and through downloadable podcasts. But nowhere beats a Live experience at this iconic theatre.