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What Was The Name Of The Carpenter Who Built The Globe Theatre?

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Charlotte St. Aubyn Profile
The Globe Theatre was built by a carpenter called Peter Smith. He started building with his workforce in 1597 and it was finished in 1598.

The Globe was built using timber from an earlier theatre, The Theatre, which had been built by Richard Burbage's father, James Burbage, in Shoreditch in 1576. The Burbages originally had a 21-year lease of the site on which The Theatre was built, but owned the building outright.

However, the landlord, Giles Allen, claimed that the building had become his with the expiry of the lease. On 28 December 1598, while Allen was celebrating Christmas at his country home, carpenter Peter Street, supported by the players and their friends, dismantled The Theatre beam by beam and transported it to Street's waterfront warehouse near Bridewell.

With the onset of more favourable weather in the following spring, the material was ferried over the Thames to reconstruct it as The Globe on some marshy gardens to the south of Maiden Lane, Southwark. The new theatre was larger than the building it replaced, with the older timbers being reused as part of the new structure; the Globe was not merely the old Theatre newly set up at Bankside. It was probably completed by the summer of 1599, possibly in time for the first production of Shakespeare’s Henry V and its famous reference to the performance, crammed within a ‘wooden O’.

The first performance for which a firm record remains was Jonson's Every Man out of His Humour, with its first scene welcoming the ‘gracious and kind spectators’ - at the end of the year.

On 29 June 1613 the Globe Theatre went up in flames during a performance of Henry VIII. A theatrical cannon, set off during the performance, misfired, igniting the wooden beams and thatching. According to one of the few surviving documents of the event, no one was hurt except a man whose burning breeches were put out with a bottle of ale. It was rebuilt in the following year.

Like all the other theatres in London, the Globe was closed down by the Puritans in 1642. It was pulled down in 1644, or slightly later, the commonly cited document dating the act to 15 April 1644 has been identified as a probable forgery, to make room for tenements.

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