Koelnmesse GmbH / FSB
Koelnmesse GmbH / FSB
Koelnmesse GmbH / FSB

‘Punk reimagining’ of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre uses shipping containers and scaffolding

We see it as a very cost effective, replicable venue that is both cool and innovative, but also provides an immersive, interactive and 'up-close & personal' theatre experience
– Angus Vail

Plans are underway to recreate William Shakespeare’s iconic Globe Theatre around the world using nothing but scaffolding and re-purposed shipping containers.

The original Globe was built by Shakespeare in 1599 in the London borough of Southwark as a theatre in the round, which allowed huge crowds get as close as possible to the onstage action. The theatre was destroyed in 1644, but a replica was created in 1997 using the available specifications of the original design.

Now entrepreneur Angus Vail wants to create “a punk reimagining” of Shakespeare's concept by creating cost-effective 'Container Globe' venues that can be built around the world to host Shakespeare performances, as well as music, dance and other live events.

Architecture studio Perkins Eastman are leading the design of the project. The idea is that the theatre’s galleries, stage and backstage areas will all be created using stacked and fastened shipping containers, scaffolding and other readily-available building materials.

Vail has received interest from investors in the cities of Denver, Staunton, Los Angeles, Sydney and Fiji. The most serious interest has come from Detroit, with investors, the arts community and the local government backing the creation of a Globe. A potential midtown site has been identified and building plans are currently in development.

The New York office of multidisciplinary firm Arup are working on the acoustics, lighting, disability, fire, and theatre design aspects of the project. The team has set a “work-in-progress” budget of US$6m (€5.3m, £4.6m) per theatre.

Vail told CLAD that as the theatres will have a demountable base, they can be either temporary or permanent additions to a city; although the cost of moving them means they would likely stay in any one place for at least a year. He added that different versions of the theatre may be developed to cater to the different needs of clients.

“We’ve had people interested in the Globe just as a theatre and music venue, who just think it’s a cool venue and don't care much that it’s based on Shakespeare's original Globe,” he said. “Some investors want to have it totally enclosed and set up as a permanent venue, so perhaps we will end up with a range of different models: a fully loaded ‘Cadillac’, a mid-level basic ‘Honda Civic’ and a bare-bones easily moveable ‘Corolla’ based on prices ranges and customers' different needs.”

From hotels to breweries, spas and gyms, shipping containers are increasingly being used as a primary construction material due to their strength, availability and relatively low cost.

In his own words
Angus Vail explains the concept of the Container Globe

We see it as a very cost effective, replicable venue that is both cool and innovative, but also provides an immersive, interactive and 'up-close & personal' theatre experience that hearkens back to Shakespeare's original Globe.

As a huge Shakespeare fan, I found that seeing the plays at the London Globe was an amazing and very different experience from seeing performances at standard theatre. Shakespeare's plays were written for that kind of venue, and the involvement of the players with the audience creates an electric atmosphere that makes the plays more accessible, and just plain more fun than just sitting back in a dark theatre.

The London Globe have been extremely supportive and see the Container Globe as a way that they may be able to expand the touring of their productions to new audiences, and also to work with them to expand their amazing education programs and bring such programmes to school kids and students in new places.

The vision is to build cost effective Globes around the world.

Shakespeare  Globe Theatre  Angus Vail  architecture  design  Detroit  Arup 
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Plans are underway to recreate William Shakespeare’s iconic Globe Theatre around the world using nothing but scaffolding and re-purposed shipping containers. The original Globe was built by Shakespeare in 1599 in the London borough of Southwark as a theatre in the round, which allowed huge crowds get as close as possible to the onstage action. The theatre was destroyed in 1644, but a replica was created in 1997 using the
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Plans are underway to recreate William Shakespeare’s iconic Globe Theatre around the world using nothing but scaffolding and re-purposed shipping containers / The Container Globe
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Koelnmesse GmbH / FSB
Koelnmesse GmbH / FSB