Pop-up Globe returns for summer
Construction is underway on the second iteration of Auckland’s Pop-up Globe theatre.
After a dream run in 2016 that saw the company’s season extended twice and more than 100,000 tickets sold, the theatre, a scale replica of the Second Globe Theatre where many of Shakespeare’s plays were originally performed, is popping up in the gardens at Ellerslie Racecourse.
Scaffolding company Camelspace, which built the last Globe, has also been contracted to build the second iteration.
Operations director Mick Spratling says the new location has brought with it a series of new challenges.
The Pop-up Globe’s original theatre was built in a concrete parking lot near Queen St, which meant it didn’t need foundations.
However because the new version is built on grass, concrete pads had to be installed to build it on, requiring over 200 metric tonnes of concrete and steel mesh.
Spratling said his team enjoyed the challenges of building such an unusual structure. Unlike most of the structures they build, which are only used by tradespeople, the theatre could be enjoyed by everyone, including the workers who built it, Spratling said.
Making the scaffolders’ job more difficult is Pop-up Globe artistic director Dr Miles Gregory, who has cooked up several improvements to the original Popup Globe to make it closer to the Jacobean original.
These include an onion dome on the roof which will filter a halo of natural light down onto the stage, as well as a lavishly decorated stagefront.
The changes are closely informed by research into the original theatre. Even the size and colour of the bricks on the stagefront are informed by research. The new theatre also features a painted ceiling which will be lifted on along with the rest of the roof by a crane. The finished three-storey building will allow 900 people to watch plays, with a range of seating and standing tickets available.
With construction underway and rehearsals for the plays in full swing, Gregory said it felt like the project was gathering momentum. ‘‘Most people would say it’s impossible, but it is possible and we’re going to do it - and we’re having a great time doing it, as well,’’ he said.
Pop-up Globe artistic director Dr Miles Gregory with a model of the theatre’s second iteration at Ellerslie Racecourse.