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Old Globe Theatre

Old Globe Theatre

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The Old Globe is a professional theatre company located in Balboa Park in San Diego, California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

. It produces about 15 plays and musicals annually in summer and winter seasons. Plays are performed in three separate theatres in the complex, which is collectively called the Simon Edison Centre for the Performing Arts:
  • Old Globe Theatre — 600-seat flagship theatre, fully enclosed
  • Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre — 250-seat intimate theatre-in-the-round (completed 2009)
  • Lowell Davies Festival Theatre — 615-seat outdoor theatre

History


The Old Globe Theatre was built in 1935 as part of the California Pacific International Exposition
California Pacific International Exposition (1935)
The California Pacific International Exposition was an exposition held in San Diego, California during May 29, 1935–November 11, 1935 and February 12, 1936–September 9, 1936...

.
The theatre was a copy of one built for the Chicago Century of Progress
Century of Progress
A Century of Progress International Exposition was the name of a World's Fair held in Chicago from 1933 to 1934 to celebrate the city's centennial. The theme of the fair was technological innovation...

, which in turn was a copy of the Globe Theatre
Globe Theatre
The Globe Theatre was a theatre in London associated with William Shakespeare. It was built in 1599 by Shakespeare's playing company, the Lord Chamberlain's Men, and was destroyed by fire on 29 June 1613...

 in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, where many of William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

's plays were performed during his lifetime. Like the original Globe, the theatre was open in the center with a roof over the seating on the sides.

During the exposition, it hosted 50-minute versions of Shakespeare plays. At the end of the exposition, the Globe had been received so well that a nonprofit organization called the San Diego Community Theatre was formed to save the temporary structure from demolition. The committee leased the structure from the city, produced full-length plays, and created a more permanent structure by roofing over the theatre and bringing it up to code.

In 1939 a young actor and director named Craig Noel
Craig Noel
Craig Noel was an American theatre producer. He was the founding director of the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, California and led it for more than 60 years...

 was hired as general director. During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 the U.S. Navy took over all buildings in Balboa Park, including the Globe. The Community Theatre group stayed together, producing one-act plays in various venues around San Diego. When the Globe was returned to civilian use in 1947, Noel returned as general director, and he remained in a leadership position until his death in 2010. In 1949 he launched the Globe's summer Shakespeare Festival in partnership with the drama department at San Diego State University
San Diego State University
San Diego State University , founded in 1897 as San Diego Normal School, is the largest and oldest higher education facility in the greater San Diego area , and is part of the California State University system...

. Since then the Shakespeare festival has been presented every summer except 1953, when Noel broke with tradition by producing the smash hit play Mister Roberts
Mister Roberts
Mister Roberts is a 1946 novel written by Thomas Heggen.-Plot:The title character, a Lieutenant Junior Grade naval officer, defends his crew against the petty tyranny of the ship's commanding officer during World War II...

instead. The Globe continued to produce a combination of modern plays along with Shakespeare and other classics. In 1981 Jack O'Brien
Jack O'Brien (director)
Jack O'Brien is an American director, producer, writer and lyricist. He served as the Artistic Director of the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, California from 1981 through the end of 2007....

 was hired as artistic director, while Noel became executive producer.

The Cassius Carter Centre Stage was added in 1969; it was a theater in the round, developed in what had been the Falstaff Tavern restaurant. It was rebuilt in 2009 as the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre. In March 1978 the Globe Theatre was destroyed in an arson fire, and an outdoor festival stage was hastily constructed so that the 1978 season could still be produced. The Globe Theatre was rebuilt and reopened in 1981. In 1984, the festival stage in turn succumbed to arson. It was rebuilt and is now named the Lowell Davies Festival Theatre. The entire three-theatre complex is called the Simon Edison Centre for the Performing Arts.

The Globe has grown into an internationally known theatre complex, an "influential powerhouse among regional theatres." In 1984 it received the Tony Award
Regional Theatre Tony Award
The Regional Theatre Tony Award is a special non-competitive Tony Award given annually to a regional theatre company in the United States. Initially presented in 1948 to Robert Porterfield of the Virginia Barter Theatre for their Contribution To Development Of Regional Theatre, the Regional Theatre...

 for best regional theatre. Shows which originated at the Old Globe have gone on to Broadway
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

 to win nine Tony Award
Tony Award
The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre, more commonly known as a Tony Award, recognizes achievement in live Broadway theatre. The awards are presented by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League at an annual ceremony in New York City. The awards are given for Broadway...

s and nearly 60 nominations.

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