Welcome back! This is Allie Dawson again, with the 11:45 panel on movable theatres. Dr. Frank Hildy moderates a discussion with Robin Bates from Lynchburg College, Angus Veil with The Container Globe, Tim Fitzpatrick from the University of Syndney, and Miles Gregory of the Pop-Up Globe.
Dr. Robin Bates begins with her presentation, "Teaching a Staging Crux", talking not about buildings, but about education. She mentions first how she loves taking information she learns from this conference, and then taking it back and using it in her classes. One such opportunity came when, eight years ago on this day, a scholar presented evidence demonstrating the Globe had two doors and a discovery space, rather than three doors, causing some consternation. Intrigued, she created an exercise for her Shakespeare students, whereby she would have them stage a scene from Macbeth, first assuming three doors, then two and discovery space. Having done it now with several classes, she found, rather than coming up with an interpretation and basing the staging around it, the exercise allowed students to find meaning in the staging. Rather than impose meaning on the scene, the difference between two doors and three doors reveals and implies different things about the scene and the characters. Her students, she says, as a result of this exercise read the plays more deeply, with a better eye to how staging effects meaning, and awareness of the multiple meanings latent in a text. Awareness of Shakespeare's staging conditions impresses upon students an awareness of how staging effects meaning.
Next, Dr. Angus Veil shared with the conference his project, the Container Globe, a project which uses repurposed shipping containers to make a reimagining of the Globe. The advantages of such an enterprise are not only the mobility of such a building, but the flexibility of it as well. While preserving a certain "Globe-ness" one can easily shift and move around the containers to either play with the placement of the pillars, repurpose it for a modern venue, use more contemporary lighting effects out of place at the London or Pop-Up Globe, or even turn it into a "Container Blackfriars". The point, though, is to maintain the "Globe-ness" of the London and Pop-up Globe. Dr. veil concludes by saying that, after all one"can't have too many Globes".
Dr. Tim Fitzpatrick then shared his findings regarding the dimensions of the original Globe. He recalls walking into the London Globe in 1995, thinking it could not possibly be accurate. Using the information regarding the dimensions of the Fortune theatre, based on the second Globe theatre, he came to the conclusion the second Globe was an ad quadratum polygon, with 16 sides and 86 feet across. He based his hypothesis, first on the dimensions mentioned above, then comparing the computer models made from these dimensions to Wenceslaus Hollar's famous early 17th century sketch of London. Not only did the model match the sketch to scale, but it also matched the architectural footprint of the Fortune theatre. Thus, Dr. Fitzpatrick concludes, had the Pop-Up Globe been there, it would have resulted in Hollar's sketch, and he believes that building and the sketch validate one another, and thus represents the building Hollar would have seen. As to how that leads to the Pop-Up Globe, Dr. Fitzpatrick leaves that for Miles Gregory to answer.
Miles Gregory relates the history of the Pop-Up Globe, which is, he says, the world's first scale reproduction of the second Globe. Inspired after reading a pop-up book including the Globe to his daughter, Gregory wondered what it were like inside, and if it were possible to create the same energy in a reproduction. Building Pop-Up Globe 1.0 in May of 2016, they ended up selling 100,000 tickets, which allowed them to move forward. In May of 2017, they built Pop-Up Globe 2.0. which included a hand-painted ceiling and superior acoustics. A rapidly growing company, now with 170 full-time staff, they soon will be running 20 shows in two countries, and forming a partnerships with Live Nation to take them, he says, everywhere. Gregory mentions he had three goals in building the Pop-up Globe: academic integrity, advancing the sum of human knowledge, providing an audience experience via shared space and direct address, and artistic brilliance, since after all, the building means nothing without good theatre. As he says in his conclusion, its not about the building, its about the plays inside.
Afterwards, the panelists took some questions. The first question was regarding the price of these venues. Gregory says it takes about $1.5 million to take it down and move it, and Dr. Veil says the price is about the same for the Container Globe. Another attendee asks about donating to these companies. Gregory reveals the Pop-Up Globe is a private, unfunded company, but information regarding donation can be found via their Twitter. Another asks what the expected life of these buildings are. Dr. Veil says the shipping containers are built to last. While not cheap to build, they take little to maintain, and will last for at least thirty years, if not more. The last question asks about technological advances in sight and sound, as opposed to the more primitive Elizabethan staging practices. Gregory says how the second Pop-Up Globe is acoustically perfect, while Dr. Fitzpatrick impresses the importance of sight as well as sound for Elizabethan playgoers. Most, he says, did come to see the play was as well as hear it, and one must be careful about describing the Elizabethan play-going experience in those terms.