Professor David Henderson unveiled plans for the new Hofstra Globe Stage on Wednesday, Nov. 9, which will emulate the London Globe Theatre that housed many original Shakespearean performances. Hosted in the Guthart Cultural Center Theater, the event outlined the extensive research conducted and labor put into the new project.
The remodeled theater will be fit for theJohn Cranford AdamsPlayhouse, which once held Hofstra’s first version of the London Globe. That version served as an example for other models, but has since been retired partially due to fire code regulations.
More importantly, research now shows that the 1970 model is no longer the most authentic version of the historic Globe.
“We wouldn’t ask another academic department to use a textbook from 1970. The stage is our textbook,” Henderson said.
Henderson, an award-winning set designer, art director, costume designer and film director, researched in England last summer and visited Elizabethan style houses and theaters for firsthand inspiration. He traveled to an array of still-standing playhouses and spent countless hours in archives across Shakespeare’s homeland to ensure the project’s accuracy.
The first Globe burned down in the early 17th century and was replaced shortly after. Both Globes, as well as other historic playhouses such as The Curtain Theatre, were not well-preserved, if at all, and remain somewhat a topic of debate and mystery for historians. There are still disputes amongst scholars about dimensions, structure, architecture and various other design elements. Hofstra’s Globe will be based on the most recent findings and will serve as a much needed update from the university’s original.
Previously, Hofstra’s Globe took about three or four weeks to set up and four or five days to take down. Professor Henderson hopes that the process of assembling and disassembling the new Globe will be expedited, and he budgeted a portion of the project’s grant to do so.
“Getting it done in time will be the greatest challenge,” said Samantha Haviland, a senior in the performing arts BFA program. “There’s going to be a lot to do and we want to be as specific and accurate as possible, but it’s going to be really fun.”
There is an emphasis on Elizabethan theater in Hofstra’s theater curriculum. The department annually performs Shakespeare’s plays in student-run productions.
“Because we have such a focus on Shakespeare, I think we are all really excited to play the way Shakespeare’s players did,” said Alex Ubalde, a senior in the theater arts BFA program.
Henderson’s design is his own personal interpretation of the first and second Globes. In most cases, it is historically accurate and in accordance with the most recent research conducted by Shakespearean and thespian scholars. However, there are a few anomalies that are strictly for aesthetic and logistical purposes. For instance, there will be a fire marshal-approved thatch roof, which would not have been present in an indoor theater.
In Shakespearean times, the sponsor of the playhouse would have their coat of arms above center stage on display for the audience. Hofstra’s very own coat of arms is included in the design, keeping to tradition.