[Shakespeare's Globe Center]

Shakespeare Globe Centre (USA)

Globe Research Archive

[(USA), Southeast]

Building a Scale Model of the Globe

We have had several requests for instructions to build a model of the Globe. Instructions for building a model from scratch follow. However, if you wish to purchase a cut-out model, one isavailable for purchase through mail-order from the New Globe's gift shop (shown at right) in London (phone or from Heritage Models (phone; web page www.heritage-models.co.uk) in Harrow England. Heritage Models may be the quicker method because the Globe Gift Shop is just starting a mail order service. The price is approximately from Heritage is approximately $13.50. This model reflects the most recent thinking about the design of the Globe so it is a 20 sided design and a lot of work to put together -- but very interesting and educational.

If you are interested in the old style eight-sided model based on 1950s scholarship, look at SHAKESPEARE'S GLOBE PLAYHOUSE by Irwin Smith ISBN 0-684-15972. Otherwise, you can fax the Globe for more information at 44-171-902-1401, or write them an inquiry at: Shakespeare's Globe, New Globe Walk, Bankside, London SE1 9ED, United Kingdom.

In the meantime, a basic set of instructions follows. We are developing a instruction video that will be available on-line by the end of the year.

Here is the model building process in a nutshell (Read all instructions before starting):

The total diameter of the Globe is 100 feet--that makes for a conveniently reducible starting measure. Decide how big you want your model to be, and use that measure as 100%, and reduce all other dimensions accordingly (for example, if the stage rises about 5 feet above the yard, for your model that would be 5 percent of your original diameter measure). For whatever building material you use, also use an appropriate glue.

The best way to construct a model is level by level. There are four levels to the new Globe: a ground level (for the yard, can also serve as the model's base), and then first, second, and third seating galleries. For each of the three galleries, take whatever construction material you are using, take a compass, and draw a big circle with the same diameter measure you want for the model. Each side of the Globe is 18 degrees; there are twenty sides (making 360 degrees, conveniently enough). Mark off each side (For best results, use a protractor). You should now have the outside edge of a 20 sided polygon.

The inside edge of the first gallery on the real Globe is 12.5 feet in from the edge--including both sides, that's 25 feet. Determine what 25 percent of your original diameter is, reset your compass, and draw the inside edge of the first gallery (resulting in a yard 75 feet across, or three-quarters of the outside diameter). Use the same points on the inside as the outside to give the circle 20 sides. The second gallery's width is 13.5 feet, and the third's is 14.5 (for percentages of 27 and 29, respectively). Cut out the middles for the three galleries.

The first gallery's floor is two feet above the yard. Depending on the thickness of your material, you can just attach the first gallery to the base. The first gallery rises an additional 12 feet, the second: 11 feet, and the third: 9 feet. This makes the walls of the three galleries a total of 34 feet high (again, 34 percent of the original diameter measure). To anchor the three bays at their proper heights use 20 dowels (or other such material) of the same 34 percent height along the outside circumference (notch the outsides at each angle). An additional 20 each of 12, 11 and 9 percent respectively on the inside angles should secure the structure just fine.

A number of square panels (cardboard, styrofoam, whatever) could then form the outside walls. Depending on your materials and your scale, you should probably make this measurement yourself. As for the interior of each gallery, depending on the scale of your model (and the room you have to work with) you could just leave them empty, or put in something to represent benches (rising blocks or styrofoam strips would do fine). If you want to get fancy, add a bannister around the inside edge of galleries two and three.

40 more square panels (two for each of the 20 sides) make up the slanted roof of the third gallery. The panels won't be exactly square but will be slanted in order to come together as a circle. The outside length of the outer roof panel will be the same as that of one of the outside sides. The inside length of the inside roof panel will then be the same as that of one of the inside sides of the third gallery. Try experimenting with a piece of scrap material or paper to get the dimensions just right.

Now, all that's left is the stage and tiring house. Follow this link for a picture of a lovely example (use your "back" button to return here). Of the twenty sides (or seating bays) only 15 are used for seating. The other five support the stage and backstage area. Mark off (with tape or LIGHT pencil) which five sides you want the stage to be. If the first seating bay left of the stage is Bay 1 (looking at the model from above), and the last one to the right of the stage is Bay 15, draw (or mark) a straight line across the yard from the inside edge of Bay 1 to the outside edge of Bay 15 (marking off Bays 19-20). This is the tiring house wall. It is also the base of the rectangle that is the stage. Find the center of the line. Measure out 18 feet/percent in each direction (for a total of 36 feet/percent). This is the base length of the stage, which then extends (width) out to the center of the yard. Two good pictures of this are on the construction plans page (use the back button on your browser to return here).

Two outside stairwells are at Bays 5 and 11 respectively. They will be just as high as the third gallery (34 feet, or percent), and their roof lines meet the galleries' roofs. The roof panels for Bays 5 and 11 will need to be cut. Again, experiment with scrap before cutting good material.

The stage itself is a rectangle measuring 25 by 44 feet. At this point, see pictures of the stage and tiring house on our website (two pages of which can be accessed from our photos and images page) to use as a visual reference, and to decide how ornate you want your model to be. The stage rises five feet above the yard and is slightly raked (the end toward the tiring house is slightly higher than the end toward the audience).

It starts to get tricky with the pillars. The pillars themselves are 2'9'' in diameter (but you can probably round that up to 3 feet/percent). The centers of the two pillars on stage are 8.25 feet/percent in from the front and sides of the stage. This makes the distance between the pillars as 27.5 feet/percent, or just under 25 from the right edge of the first one to the left edge of the right one (Itold you this part gets tricky). If you draw a line between the pillars and back from each to the tiring house, you create a strip around the edge of the stage (a good picture of this is on our construction plans page in the architecture section of this site). In the middle of the strips where they meet the tiring house are the two side stage doors. The large center door is, of course, in the center of the tiring house. Again, refer to the website's pictures for reference.

By far the trickiest part of building a Globe model will be putting a roof over the stage and matching this roof with that of the third gallery. There is decent picture of this on our page on the Globe's stage that shows a cross section of the Globe, facing the stage. The stage's main roof stops at the pillars (which also forms the boundaries of the Heavens over the stage), and somewhat of a skirt extends beneath it to cover the strip around the stage's edges. The stage's roof rises slightly higher than that of the third gallery. The New Globe's roof slopes together; the original in all probability had separate roof lines. It's hard to say which would be easier for a model builder. Again, experiment with scrap paper to get the exact dimensions for your scale and material (to get the tightest fit).

That should basically do it. Thanks again for your interest, and good luck with your project.

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This page is maintained by Carrie J. Cole (cjcole@wam.umd.edu)

Questions? Email the Research Office(globe@deans.umd.edu)