Final curtain due at the Globe

By Dionne Christian

Aucklanders have embraced the pop-up version of Shakespeare’s original theatre.
Tobias Grant will miss the Pop-Up Globe when it is pulled down this month. Photo / Michael Craig
Tobias Grant will miss the Pop-Up Globe when it is pulled down this month. Photo / Michael Craig

Shakespeare has been dead for 400 years, but those behind the Pop-Up Globe say he has been alive, well and kicking in Auckland in the two-and-a-half months since the temporary theatre opened.

Pop-Up Globe will shut its doors at the end of this month and the structure, consisting of 125,000 scaffolding components, will be pulled down. But there's still one of the most important events to come.

On April 23, Auckland will be the first city in the world to mark 400 years since the death of playwright William Shakespeare.

Commemorations are planned around the world and, in Auckland, these will focus on the Pop-Up Globe, where the final performances of Romeo and Juliet and Twelfth Night take place.

Due to popular demand, the season was extended, allowing the Pop-up Globe to be open on the anniversary of Shakespeare's death in 1616. It is also believed he was born on or very near the same date in 1564.

"The 400th anniversary is a significant milestone celebrating the unique genius of Shakespeare, who remains the most influential writer in the English language," artistic director Dr Miles Gregory says.

"We have been absolutely thrilled by the response Pop-Up Globe has received from New Zealand audiences and couldn't have dreamed of such a wonderful response."

Pop-Up Globe's executive producer Tobias Grant says the company intends to make sure the final performances are as captivating as ever. He knows many will be sad to see the world's first temporary full-scale working replica of Shakespeare's second Globe theatre come down.

"I completely fell in love with the building and will miss it very much. I think that feeling is shared by the great number of people who have been part of it by coming to see and enjoy a show here," says Grant. "Aucklanders have embraced it."

Since opening night on February 18, 70,000 people have seen one of the eight plays - 83 shows in total - performed at Pop-Up Globe: Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, Much Ado about Nothing, Titus, The Tempest, Henry V, Hamlet and Antony and Cleopatra.

Grant says they have fielded calls and emails from around the world expressing interest in replicating the venture, but it is too soon to say whether the Pop-Up Globe will have another life elsewhere.

"It's a rare and very special thing to have something that has captured the imaginations of so many people," says Grant.

In its season, Pop-Up Globe has used more 45 litres of specially imported fake blood and 270 blood bags for Romeo and Juliet, 40 hand-made bows on Olivia's dress in Twelfth Night, more than 30m of hand-sewn trim and 300m of material.

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- Herald on Sunday

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