Pop-up Globe

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The second Globe Theatre, London, as drawn by Wencelas Hollar in the 1630s
Pop-up Globe, Auckland CBD 2016
Aerial view of Pop-up Globe at Ellerslie Racecourse, Winter 2017

Pop-up Globe is a New Zealand theatre production company, based in Auckland, New Zealand. It produces Jacobean theatre, particularly the works of Shakespeare, in specially-built temporary replicas of the second Globe, the theatre Shakespeare and his company built and used. The company’s theatre is the world's first full-scale reconstruction of the Second Globe Theatre (1614–44).

The company constructed the first Pop-up Globe in Auckland CBD, next to the Auckland Town Hall, from February–May 2016; Pop-up Globe’s second season ran from 23 February to 17 May 2017 in a newly designed and constructed Pop-up Globe at Ellerslie Racecourse in Auckland.[1]

Pop-up Globe's first international season, promoted by Live Nation Entertainment, ran from 21 September to 3 February 2018 in an area of Kings Domain adjacent to the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne, Australia, which was temporarily called the Shakespeare Gardens.[2][3]


Pop-up Globe was founded in 2015 by Artistic Director Dr Miles Gregory. Executive Director Tobias Grant joined the project at a very early stage. Both are native Aucklanders. Gregory had worked for 18 years in the UK as a director and producer,[4] and Grant had a background in media and marketing.

The first season, featuring the Pop-up Globe Theatre Company performing Twelfth Night and Romeo and Juliet, with independent visiting productions of Titus Andronicus, The Tempest, Much Ado About Nothing, Henry V, Antony and Cleopatra and Hamlet, opened on 18 February 2016, as part of the commemorations of the quatercentenary of Shakespeare’s death.[5] Over 100,000 tickets were sold during a 12-week season,[6] making it the largest Shakespeare festival in the Southern Hemisphere.

The second season featured two in-house repertory acting companies, Queen’s and King’s, performing Much Ado About Nothing/Othello and As You Like It/Henry V respectively.[7] Over 100,000 tickets were sold in the second season.[8]


Interior photograph of Pop-up Globe 2016, showing galleries and stage roof
Performance of Much Ado About Nothing by the Pop-up Globe Queen's Company at Pop-up Globe Auckland, May 2017

The theatre’s architectural plan is based on the published research of Professor Tim Fitzpatrick of Sydney University.[9]

Fitzpatrick’s reconstruction synthesises a mathematical projection based on Wenceslaus Hollar’s Long View of London from Bankside sketch of London’s skyline in the early 1640s with extensive research into the Jacobean ad quadratum technique of architectural planning, and with the results of the limited archaeological evidence available from the site of the original Globe.

Pop-up Globe is a 16-sided polygon, 88 feet (27 m) in external diameter. This is some 12 feet (3.7 m) smaller than Shakespeare’s Globe in London, which some scholars and theatre practitioners have judged to be too large.[10][11] As a consequence of this smaller diameter, the 'yard' where audiences stand is around 40% smaller than the yard at Shakespeare's Globe.

The theatre is 56 feet (17 m) high, with a standing capacity of 300 'groundlings' and 600 seats in three galleries. It is topped by a distinctive ‘onion dome’, visible in the Hollar sketch. The theatre has been constructed by Camelspace, a New Zealand construction company specialising in scaffolding structures.[12]

The interior design of the stage (43 feet (13 m) in width, as specified in the contract for the Fortune Playhouse) has changed significantly between the first and second seasons. The first season employed a canted scaenae frons across four audience bays at the rear of the stage, with four doors in a neo-classical design. The audience was seated in 360°, with “Lord’s” and “Gentlemen’s” rooms in the middle and upper galleries behind the stage. The 2017 season featured a flat scaenae frons with three doors in a baroque design, with the audience seated around 270°, with a balcony above the central door, and a musician’s gallery above the balcony.[13]


  1. ^ "Pop-up Globe to rise in the gardens at Ellerslie Racecourse". stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  2. ^ "Pop-up Globe Australia: About Overview". Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  3. ^ "Melbourne's Pop-Up Globe unleashes Shakespeare's plays as they were intended". Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  4. ^ Gregory, Miles. "Guest Blog: Why I want to build a Pop-up Globe Theatre". whatsonstage.com. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  5. ^ Van Beynen, Jack. "Shakespeare's death remembered at the Pop-up Globe theatre". stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  6. ^ Awde, Nick. "New Zealand's Pop-up Globe". The Stage. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  7. ^ "Pop-up Globe Theatre to rise again - at Ellerslie Racecourse". nzherald.co.nz. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  8. ^ "Pop up Globe announces Australian dates". NZ Herald. Retrieved 2017-09-02.
  9. ^ Fitzpatrick, Tim. "Reconstructing Shakespeare's second Globe using 'Computer Aided Design' (CAD) tools". extra.shu.ac.uk/emls/si-13/fitzpatrick/. Sheffield Hallam University. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  10. ^ Egan, Gabriel. "The 1599 Globe and its modern replica: Virtual Reality modelling of the archaeological and pictorial evidence". Early Modern Literary Studies. Sheffield Hallam University. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  11. ^ Egan, Gabriel (2001). "Globe Theatre" in The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare (1st ed.). OUP. p. 166. ISBN 9780198708735. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  12. ^ "Roof raised on Auckland's Pop-up Globe as construction nears completion". Stuff. Retrieved 2017-09-02.
  13. ^ "The Pop-up Globe is back". OurAuckland. Retrieved 2017-09-02.

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