Just ‘As You Like It’ at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
We are spoiled for choice in London when it comes to live theatre but to date we’ve only really been to musicals. We had meant to go to see a “real” play at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre a lot sooner but always found an excuse to get around to it later. Knowing we won’t be here forever we finally managed to book tickets to tick off another item on our 100 Things List:
66. See a play at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
The Globe Theatre
Shakespeare’s Globe is not the original (I was a little sad to find that out). The historic original version was built in 1599 then it burnt down then it was rebuilt and then they demolished it again (in 1644). The more modern version we were heading to was based on historic evidence and opened in 1997.
There were a few good improvements over the 1599 version of the building. The first one was that we could hire cushions and the second was that we could buy yummy snacks and drinks. Although maybe they had both of those back in 1599.
Despite the building being relatively new, it still felt like we were being transported back in time when we walked in and were ushered up the stairs to find our seats. That feeling of being transported back in time and experiencing something so close to how people did over 400 years ago was exactly why we had this on our 100 Things List.
We were hoping to see a classic play that we knew but found all the one’s that we had studied at school or knew well were sold out. I managed to find tickets available for ‘As You Like It’ and once we realised it was a comedy we were happy to book it in.
We aren’t the most err…cultured people and are much more likely to be caught at a Rock of Ages musical rather than Shakespeare so we were worried we would get a little lost on the storyline and not know what was going on. To our pleasant surprise we kept up fine and the great acting and well paced play was easy to follow.
We also got to hear one of Shakespeare’s famous monologues: “All The World’s A Stage”
The actors were hilarious and managed to skilfully build in some interaction with the audience as they entered or exited the stage through the Yard. It would be almost worth standing for 3 hours to be right there in the crowd and be able to be next to the actors as they delivered their lines. We get sore legs though.
Sit or Stand
The bulk of the audience at the Globe Theatre are standing up rather than being lazy like us and sitting down. These standing tickets don’t sell out nearly as quickly as the seated one’s and arguably give the best view of the stage since you can find yourself literally resting your arms on the stage looking up at the actors.
The actors play up to the crowd and interact with the people around them (half the laughter at times was because of the uncomfortable audience member’s reaction to the actor’s intense questioning being aimed at them). The price is quite a lot cheaper (£5 vs up to £43 for seats) so there are definitely some convincing reasons to opt for standing tickets.
But we’re lazy and couldn’t imagine standing for 3 hours. I’d need a walking frame after an hour I think. That in mind we opted for the slightly more expensive seated option complete with £1 cushion hire (the wooden seats are authentically hard and uncomfortable on their own apparently).
Our seats turned out to be pretty amazing. The poles holding up the stage get in the way a bit (a problem from wherever you sit or stand) but the actors are great at moving around the stage so that they’re only ever out of your sight for a second or two.
So was Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre worthy of being on our bucket list?
Yes! We love live theatre and it was a great experience to see some of the best actors in the world performing the greatest playwright’s work in a theatre built to replicate the one the same play was performed in over 400 years ago. It wasn’t the most adventurous item on our list but I’m definitely glad we ticked it off.
More Information on seeing a play at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
You need to pre-book and pre-book early if you want to get seats. I bought ours a few months before we went and even then it was slim pickings. The most well known of Shakespeare’s plays will often be sold out well ahead of time. I’d recommend looking at early/mid week shows.There are 700 standing tickets for sale for each show and these are much easier to get a hold of.
There is also a returns queue that starts 2 hours before the performance starts so if you don’t mind queueing you can always try your luck there. Buy tickets on the Shakespeare’s Globe site here.
The price range for seats for As You Like It were £17 to £43 per person. We paid £36 each for our seats in the upper gallery right at the top plus £1 each for cushion hire and were very happy with those seats. The cost for standing in the Yard on the other hand is only £5 per person (and you arguably get the best view of the stage). I’d still recommend the seated option.
How long is a show?
The performances tend to range between two and a half to three hours long. Fine when sitting but that is a long time to stand up! There is an intermission where you can take a break, go to the bathroom and restock sweets and drinks.
When to Go
We were there on the 31st August (the bank holiday) and I found it hard to see tickets for any weekend shows when I was looking. You may have better luck looking for early/mid week tickets. The best time of year to go is the warmer summer months as even in late August it got slightly chilly towards the end of the performance.