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On the afternoon of the 6th April 2007, prior to the following day's airing of 3.2: The Shakespeare Code, I made my way down to the South Bank of London's River Thames to check out Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.

I first visited this theatre as part of my Drama course in College, back in 1998 - a year after the theatre had just opened, and when a new series of Doctor Who was a mere dream. I remember thinking, back then, what an awesome building it was, and how it had been lovingly recreated to its former glory.

Of course, the original Globe Theatre opened in 1599, and was destroyed by fire on 29th June 1613. It was rebuilt within a year, and then closed in 1642 by the Puritans, and was soon after demolished.

Back to present day, and I was once again amazed by the structure, and how much care and detail had gone into its rebuilding. House Manager; Celia Gilbert, took me up to one of the viewing areas inside the Globe, which overlooked the theatre and areas seen in the episode itself. As you can see from the accompanying photos (right), its practically the same as we all saw in 3.2: The Shakespeare Code. Notice the detailed marbling on the barrier pillars - something that was part of the original design of the Globe theatre back in 1599.

The Stage itself was a marvel - it's worth paying to see that alone! Again, look at the pillars and the artwork on the walls and ceiling - it really is amazing craftsmanship.

One of the truly great things about being in the Globe, is how you instantly feel like you've gone back in time - no TARDIS required. Just walking along the side of the Thames and stumbling upon the view of the theatre is breath-taking - its so out of place, and yet considering what it signifies, is perfectly justified. Although it is a reconstructed version, because of the amount of detail and hard work in getting this to be as accurate as the real thing, the new Globe theatre has earned it's right to be considered as one of London's new historic landmarks.

So why use it for Doctor Who? It's becoming a standard now that every year there is at least one historical Doctor Who story woven into the new series, and who better to be at the centre of one, than Shakespeare himself. Setting the story in the Globe theatre, only added to it's believability and authenticity. Had this have been a modern rebuilding of the Globe, it obviously wouldn't have worked, but because of the pain-staking attention to detail in this re-build, we have a permanent set used in Doctor Who, that fans can visit again and again.

Since our visit, DWO have been in communication with Shakespeare's Globe, who have informed us of some great new event's to celebrate Shakespeare's birthday.

Shakespeare’s Globe is celebrating Shakespeare’s Birthday this year with a weekend of festivities, including FREE events on Sunday and Monday. Celebrations are supported by the Mayor of London as part of celebrations for St George’s Day which also falls on 23 April.

Listings information - Shakespeare’s Birthday Weekend: Venue: Shakespeare’s Globe, 21 New Globe Walk, London SE1 9DT

Saturday 21 April – Shakespeare Sonnet Walks

In partnership with Phoebus Cart, the Globe continues the tradition of Mark Rylance’s popular Sonnet Walks. Twelve sonneteers will entertain walkers as they stroll to Shakespeare’s Globe on tours of Tudor London. Walkers choose from two tours of Tudor London – either starting from Poets’ Corner, Westminster Abbey or St Leonard’s Church in Shoreditch.

Walks set off every 15 minutes from 10am to 12.45pm and finishes with a brief visit inside the theatre.

Tickets: £16, £13 Concs, £10 Friends of Shakespeare’s.

Advance booking is essential. Please call Shakespeare’s Globe box office for tickets: 020 7401 9919.

Sunday 22 April – Shakespeare’s Birthday Celebrations - FREE

The day will begin with a 10 minute carnival procession from Southwark Cathedral to the Globe. Members of the public are invited to take part and bring along their own masks, prizes will be given for the best masks on show. Then join us for a whole day of FREE festivities and the chance to tread the boards of our famous stage. Experienced actors will train members of the public to perform lines from Shakespeare in front of a packed auditorium. There will be workshops for all ages, music from the Globe’s favourite musicians, the chance to win fantastic prizes, and food and wine stalls in the Underglobe.

Part of the Mayor of London’s St George’s Day programme, procession begins from Southwark Cathedral (riverside) at 10.30am with the Globe doors open from 11.00am – 4.00pm.

Monday 23 April – ‘Silent Shakespeare’ at the Globe – FREE

A collection of silent film shorts of Shakespeare’s works will be projected on to the exterior walls of the theatre, with live musical accompaniment from composer Laura Rossi and the Fourth Dimension String Quartet. Come and watch from Bankside as images from the past light up the white walls of the theatre by arrangement with the British Film Institute. Films include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night and The Merchant of Venice and date back to 1899.

Film showing times are: 8.00pm – 10.00pm (with 20 minute interval) - PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF START TIME.

Shakespeare’s Birthday is organised as part of the Mayor of London’s celebrations for St George’s Day 2007.

For further information on Shakespeare's Globe and to see details on their 2007 Theatre season, visit the website.

© Copyright Jez Strickley & Doctor Who Online, 2007.
 Page Last Updated: 29/1/2009

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