Shakespeare’s crafts

Today I’d like to take you along to a tour of Shakespeare’s Globe – a recreation of the original theatre which was put up a few years ago. I went there with some friends on Sunday, it is right around the corner (literally, it takes me 2 minutes to get to it from where I live) and I do love Mr. S., so when they invited me I couldn’t say no. But I had no idea that I would be in for more than a literary and historical treat – actually, more than anything, it was a crafty treat!

Basically, when the whole idea of recreating the Globe was born, it was decided that, to the best of current knowledge and abilities, things would be done exactly as they had been done in Shakespeare’s time: this included petitioning the City of London to allow for a thatch roof to be put up (thatch roofs have been banned since the Great Fire of London, and remain so today, it took the City 8 years to finally decide to give them an exceptional permit), doing all the building in the traditional way, and creating all the costumes and stage props just like they were back in the day. I found all this out on the tour and I have to say, as someone who is not a big fan of running after a tourguide – I’m really glad I paid attention to this one! It made the whole experience and my whole attitude towards the building so special! Even though it was only erected recently, knowing how it was built makes you feel like it truly contains history.

Come along!

See those pillars on the stage? Don’t they look like marble? They’re made of wood! And painted so as to look like marble.  How cool is that? As the tour guide explained, “neither Mr. S. nor we could afford real marble”.

Accompanying the theatre tour is the exhibition, where you find out loads of information about Shakespeare’s era and how this part of London and the theatre world looked back then, as well as how the current theatre was built and how the plays are staged at it. This, of course, included lots of stories on making the costumes, and there were wonderful exhibits that seemed to be ok to touch (I sure hope so, because I did!), which made me giddy with excitement!

This is one of the first things I came across.

Now, if I had a tailor as handsome as this, you could be sure I’d be running off to get a new dress sewn for me every week! ;) Here are some of his props:

I’m such a sucker for old things and such a romantic at heart, so this just makes me incredibly happy! Of course, crafts other than sewing were involved as well: embroidery…

… and

… (wait for it)

… knitting!!! :)

And I’m pretty sure this is a splendid example of weaving.

I love the fact that both the production and the upkeep of garments are done in the traditional way. (Not sure how much the actors love all those underskirts, though…)

To finish off, I leave you with three adorable tiny models of dress forms (I would love to have these displayed in my some-day-to-exist studio)…

… and one thoroughly spooky model doll in a pretty dress! :)

Truth be told, the spookiness is mainly due to the atmospheric lighting in the exhibition (this is also the reason behind the poor quality of most photos). Hope you enjoyed the little tour! I highly recommend it if you are ever in London! And I’ll definitely be going back to the Globe to see a play, as soon as it gets warmer!

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