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.Using our international travel planner, London attractions like The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse can form part of a personalized travel itinerary.
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.
The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse Reviews
I have never seen drama performed in a space like this before and so it was a real treat for me. I hadn’t planned to visit but decided after a walk in the area to get a ticket for the matinee of... more »
Our first visit to this excellent venue. We had a wonderful afternoon watching The Taming of The Shrew, exceptional acting with the humour of the play captured brilliantly. If tickets are still... more »
The Sam Wanamaker playhouse is a recreation of an indoor Jacobean theatre - or at least the best guess as no-one is entirely sure what one really looked like. And they've had to make a few concessions to modern health and safety regulations of course. But it's quite convincing and quite fascinating. Not very big and performances are lit by candles - it gives a quite different experience compared to modern theatres. Not strong on comfort; seats are padded but backless. IMO go for the lower gallery for the best seats. Today it was for one of their "Read not Dead" series. These are really fantastic. They're airings of fairly obscure plays by an enthusiastic professional cast who give a dramatized reading after a mornings rehearsal. Invariably top notch - I guess they wouldn't do it if they didn't like it, and their enjoyment shows. This season the RND series is on Robin Hood plays. Give them a go- but beware, they are usually quite popular. Try one once and you want to go back for more!
Exceptional playhouse with exceptional people. Well worth the money. The play we saw was sublime.
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