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Lesson Plans
Around the Globe and Back Again: Shakespeare's Globe Theater Then and Now

Janine Polla Werner
OverviewProcedure for teachersStudent Resources and Materials
Grade Level
Time Alloment
 Five 45-minute class periods


Shakespeare's Globe was the most popular English theater of its time, frequented by people from all walks of Elizabethan life. From 1599 until 1640, everyone from lords and ladies to apprentices and paupers filled the galleries and yard to experience the Bard's tragedies, comedies, and histories. Today we understand The Globe's significance as a physical center for literature, history, and social interaction.

Through the activities presented in this lesson, students will become familiar with the history and design of The Globe Theater, understand Shakespearean drama as a form of popular entertainment, and appreciate the grand vision and scope behind the new Globe Theater. They will gain an understanding of the impact live Shakespearean productions had on cultural literacy and the development of the English language.

Learning Activities

Students will be able to:

  • Understand a form of entertainment popular four hundred years ago via their own prior knowledge and experiences
  • Identify the structural features of the Globe Theater
  • Describe the experience of audience members based on their location in the theater
  • Describe the experience of actors performing in the Globe Theater
  • Account for the negative reaction the local government and religious community held toward theaters in general
  • Understand Shakespeare's contribution toward the English language
  • Appreciate the work and dedication of Sam Wanamaker and others who built the New Globe Theater


New York State Learning Standards for the English Language Arts

Standard 1: Language for Information and Understanding
Students will listen, speak, read, and write for information and understanding. As listeners and readers, students will collect data, facts, and ideas; discover relationships, concepts, and generalizations; and use knowledge generated from electronically produced texts.

Standard 2: Language for Literary Response and Expression
Students will read and listen to oral, written, and electronically produced texts and performances from American and world literature; relate texts and performances to their own lives; and develop an understanding of the diverse social, historical, and cultural dimensions the texts and performances represent.

New York State Learning Standards for Social Studies

Standard 2: World History
Students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of major ideas, eras, themes, developments, and turning points in world history and examine the broad sweep of history from a variety of perspectives.

New York State Learning Standards for the Arts

Standard 4: Understanding the Cultural Contributions of the Arts

Students will develop an understanding of the personal and cultural forces that shape artistic communication and how the arts in turn shape the diverse cultures of past and present society.

National Council of Teachers of English: The List of Standards for the English Language Arts

3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).

4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.

5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.

8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.

9. Students develop an understanding of and respect for diversity in language use, patterns, and dialects across cultures, ethnic groups, geographic regions, and social roles.

Media Components


Shakespeare's Globe

Web Sites:

Shakespeare's Globe Research Database

This site is a database containing an interactive timeline with links to graphics and explanatory notes.

The New Globe

This link of the above site displays a plan of the new Globe, showing stage, tiring house, galleries and stair turrets.

Shakespeare Globe USA

This comprehensive Web site contains a virtual tour of the Globe Theater.

Proper Elizabethan Accents

This site focuses on Elizabethan language use, including pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, and insults.

A Shakespearean Glossary

This site provides an alphabetical listing of commonly used words in Shakespearean drama.

Randy's Shakespearean Insult Server

This good-humored site provides students with Shakespearean "one-liners" and more extensive quotations that contain insults in Elizabethan English.