A full-scale temporary replica of the Shakespearean Globe Theatre will be built in Auckland, seating up to 900 people in a circular structure planned to be an exact copy of the original theatre in Britain.
Pop-Up Globe artistic director Miles Gregory, formerly a regional producer for Globe London, and mayor Len Brown have just jointly announced the scheme for the three-level Pop-Up Globe in a council-owned carpark, now re-named Bard's Yard, behind the Q Theatre at 38 Greys Avenue.
In April, Gregory said he planned to bring the Globe here and that it would cost about $450,000 to build, but no site was announced.
Gregory confirmed that figure and said scaffolding business Camelspace would build the structure which would open on February 19 and close at the end of March "but it comes down to public demand, just like any show but we obviously hope it will run longer than that."
The site has now been revealed as the small council-owned carpark behind the Town Hall and alongside entry ramps into the underground Civic Car Park beneath the Aotea Centre.
Brown referred to Gregory's previous experience.
"Initiated and launched here in Auckland, Pop-Up Globe is a chance for Kiwis to have a remarkable Shakespearian theatrical experience driven by a remarkable Kiwi bringing his skills and experiences back home, and a wonderful complement to the Auckland Arts Festival," Brown said.
The scheme has been privately funded.
"It's being funded by the promoters," Gregory said. "It's a commercial project so you hope it will be positive at the end."
Plans are for the building will be dismantled and two Shakespearean dramas to be staged there have been announced today.
"Nestled in Auckland's cultural precinct, next door to the Town Hall, across from the Aotea Centre and directly behind Q Theatre, this full-scale temporary working replica of Shakespeare's famous Globe Theatre will literally 'pop up' for a strictly limited period, feature two of Shakespeare's most famous works, Romeo & Juliet and Twelfth Night, then disappear," a prepared statement said.
Those are the only contracted productions but more productions are planned.
Gregory is a British-trained Shakespeare scholar who grew up in Auckland and has 20 years' international experience producing and directing theatre.
Gregory said Shakespeare's Globe was one of the most important theatres in history.
"The experience was so remarkable that ever since the late nineteenth century, actors and academics - and sometimes a mixture of the two - have sought to recreate as much as is possible the 'original' staging conditions of Shakespeare's own theatres," said Gregory, formerly a Regional Producer for Shakespeare's Globe London.
"Yet Shakespeare's second Globe Theatre - the theatre he built and in which his work was being performed at the time he died - has never been accurately reconstructed. Our aim is to recreate as faithfully as possible this original performance space so Pop-up Globe's audience can enjoy the remarkable experience of Shakespeare's own audience 400 years ago."
A prepared statement said the new building would be the "first faithful reconstruction of Shakespeare's second Globe Theatre", referring to the Bankside, Southwark structure in London.
That statement also cited "ground-breaking research by associate Professor Tim Fitzpatrick of Sydney University," telling how the new structure would "replicate exactly the dimensions of Shakespeare's second Globe Theatre, which was built on the ruins of the first Globe in 1614.
This round three-storey building is designed to create a remarkable theatre experience. Wherever in the theatre you sit or stand, you'll be within 15m of the action on stage and surrounded on all sides by people sharing the same space and experience. An audience of up to 900 will completely surround the stage. In fact, some of the best seats in the house are located in the Lords' and Gentlemen's rooms on the two levels directly behind the stage.
The stage is very large - over 100sqm - and takes up almost half the base of the yard. This expansive space allows the Pop-up Globe Theatre Company an unusually large performance area on which to bring Shakespeare's work to life, just as Shakespeare's own cast enjoyed 400 years ago.
Pop-Up Globe is capped with an onion dome, a unique signature design element which will be remarkable feature of the Auckland cityscape, just as it would have been for the Globe on its site by the Thames.
We were reading a pop-up book and one of the pop-ups was Shakespeare's Globe theatre. She said: 'Daddy, can we go out to that?'
"With a steel frame skinned in plywood, Pop-Up Globe fuses cutting-edge scaffold technology with 400-year-old design," the statement said.
The Herald reported in April how the Globe was heading to Auckland next year, "as the world marks 400 years since the playwright's death. A full-scale temporary pop-up theatre will be located in the central city and open to the public by early 2016," an article said then, quoting Gregory saying how the idea of a pop-up theatre came to him while reading a bedtime story to his now 5-year-old daughter, Nancy, about three years ago.
"We were reading a pop-up book and one of the pop-ups was Shakespeare's Globe theatre. She said: 'Daddy, can we go out to that?'
"I said: 'Well, actually, we can't.' So I thought afterwards: 'Wouldn't it be great to bring the theatre here?'" he said at the time.
The current Globe in London, built in 1997, is based on the original theatre built in the 16th century which was home to many of Shakespeare's plays.
See the location of the Globe replica theatre here: