Old Globe Theatre
|Old Globe Theatre|
|Architectural style||Replica Tudor|
|Location||San Diego, California, United States|
|Completed||1935 (original); 1982–1993 (rebuilt)|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||Thomas Wood Stevens (original); Liebhardt, Botton & Associates, A.I.A. (rebuilt)|
|Other designers||Wimmer Yamada (Copley Plaza)|
The Old Globe Theatre is a professional theatre company located in Balboa Park in San Diego, California. 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, featuring the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage
- Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre – 250-seat intimate theatre in the round (completed 2009)
- Lowell Davies Festival Theatre – 615-seat outdoor theatre
The Old Globe Theatre and the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre are part of the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center. The White Theatre also houses the Karen and Donald Cohn Education Center.
The Old Globe Theatre was built in 1935, designed by Richard Requa as part of the California Pacific International Exposition. The theatre was based on a copy of one built for the Chicago Century of Progress, which in turn was a copy of the Globe Theatre in London, England, where many of William Shakespeare'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 was hired as general director. During World War II 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 University of San Diego. 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 instead. The Globe continued to produce a combination of modern plays along with Shakespeare and other classics. In 1981 Jack O'Brien was hired as artistic director, while Noel became executive producer.
The Cassius Carter Centre Stage, a theater in the round, was added in 1969 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 for best regional theatre. Shows which originated at the Old Globe have gone on to Broadway to win nine Tony Awards and nearly 60 nominations.
The Globe is the center of controversy starting in 2009 regarding one of Old Globe's donors. Irwin Jacobs proposed radical changes in the park in order to provide parking for the theater. This controversy pits older, wealthier theater goers against virtually the rest of San Diego. Theater goers want more parking while the rest of the residents value the park for its historic, aesthetic, and natural qualities that a plan for a freeway style road ending in a massive parking garage will diminish.
One critic says of the proposed parking lot: "the cherished entry experience will not only be forever lost, it will become a garish, concrete-and-asphalt nightmare that permanently scars Alcazar Garden, Palm Canyon, Spreckels Organ Pavilion and the historic core." 
- "History". Old Globe Theatre. Retrieved 2015-07-09.
- Mohr, Beth (Spring 1985). "The Old Globe Theatre: Highlights From Fifty Years". The Journal of San Diego History 31 (2). Retrieved 2008-05-30.
- Weber, Bruce (April 12, 2010). "Craig Noel, a Force in Regional Theater, Dies at 94". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-07-09.
- San Diego News Network, April 4, 2010 Archived February 24, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
- Coons, Bruce (July 22, 2016). "New traffic plan would permanently scar Balboa Park". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2016-07-23.