Dionne Christian is the NZ Herald’s arts and books editor

Pop-Up Globe returns for summer

The Pop-Up Globe received an overwhelmingly positive public response in its first season at the start of this year.
The Pop-Up Globe received an overwhelmingly positive public response in its first season at the start of this year.

Kiwi culture vultures flocked to it the first-time round; now those behind the Pop-Up Globe theatre hope they'll show just as much love this summer.

The theatre, the world's first full-scale replica of Shakespeare's second Globe playhouse, will return to Auckland this summer. However, fans will have to wait until next week to learn where the it will be set up, what plays will be on and when it opens.

A full-page advertisement appeared this week in the NZ Herald hinting that the theatre would be back while notices for auditions and production staff have appeared on websites and Facebook.

Executive producer Tobias Grant says given the response to the theatre's first season, from February to May, it was obvious people wanted Pop-Up Globe back. The season was twice extended; fans also started an online petition to keep it in Auckland.

"We had more than 100,000 people, including 20,000 school pupils, come through in two and a half months, which was extraordinary and humbling," says Mr Grant.

"It has become a project of global significance and is a tribute to the creativity of New Zealanders."

The three-storey building, constructed from 125,000 individual scaffolding components, will look much the same on the outside as it did earlier this year. However, research consultant David Lawrence has spent nearly six months finding out more about its interior and this new information means the auditorium will be markedly different.

"They used to say the Globe was the most handsome theatre in Europe; the glory of the [South] Bank and when our visitors enter this year, they will be able to see why," says Pop-Up Globe artistic director Miles Gregory.

Mr Gregory also believes they have solved a centuries old mystery of why the building, constructed in 1614 after the first Globe burned down, had an onion dome of its roof.

"The onion dome was a challenge for us to build and it would have been even more difficult then. There has been a lot of speculation as to what its purpose was; now we think we know," he says.

"It is a significant research finding which may change scholarship around the world but, more importantly, will allow audiences to more closely experience what those in the 1600s would have seen."

Mr Gregory says audition notices attracted 1200 responses from around the world, including performers in Russia and Mexico. Two days of auditions were held to find 30 actors who will appear in this summer's plays. The project will create around 100 jobs, including actors but also the backstage team.

Talks continue with international arts organisations about taking the concept overseas.

- NZ Herald

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