The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, London

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The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse is an indoor theatre forming part of Shakespeare's Globe, along with the Globe Theatre on Bankside, London. Built making use of 17th-century plans for an indoor theatre, the playhouse recalls the layout and style of the Blackfriars Theatre, although it is not an exact reconstruction. Its shell was built during the construction of the Shakespeare's Globe complex, notable for the reconstruction of the open-air Globe Theatre of the same period. The shell was used as a space for education workshops and rehearsals until enough money was raised to complete the playhouse. It opened in January 2014, named after Sam Wanamaker, the leading figure in the Globe's reconstruction.
The shell was intended to house a "simulacrum" of the sixteenth-century Blackfriars Theatre from the opposite side of the Thames, adapted as a playhouse in 1596 during Elizabeth's reign. The Lord Chamberlain's Men, Shakespeare's playing company, began to use it in 1608, five years into the Jacobean era.
As no reliable plans of the Blackfriars Theatre are known, the plan for the new theatre was based on drawings found in the 1960s at Worcester College, Oxford, at first thought to date from the early 17th century, and to be the work of Inigo Jones. The shell was built to accommodate a theatre as specified by the drawings, and the planned name was the Inigo Jones Theatre. In 2005, the drawings were dated to 1660 and attributed to John Webb. They nevertheless represent the earliest known plan for an English theatre, and are thought to approximate the layout of the Blackfriars Theatre. Some features believed to be typical of earlier in the 17th century were added to the new theatre's design.
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  • While we weren't able to get tickets to Othello, which was playing at the actual Globe; we were able to get tickets to the new Sam Wanamaker Playhouse which is like a baby Globe. We saw Love's Labours...  more »
  • Went to see the current production of 'Love's Labour's Lost' - brilliantly entertaining and accessible Shakespeare. The real highlight for me were the musicians - I was in the upper gallery (£10 to st...  more »
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