Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London launched its refurbished exhibition space yesterday (4 December). Exploring the life of Shakespeare and the history of the Globe, the show was overhauled by consultancy Cultural Innovations, completing the first stage of a six-phase improvement programme underway at the theatre, on Bankside, SE1.
Cultural Innovations is now advising the Globe on how to improve wayfinding and the potential of audio-visual tools, representing the second and third improvement areas.
Globe marketing director Andrew McNair says, ‘Our next task is to put a timeline together and decide whether we want to bring other consultancies, including design groups, on board to help implement the remaining changes, which include extending the Globe brand, programming events and improving our use of technology.’
McNair claims that the Globe works regularly with a number of external design consultancies, including Kerr Noble, which produces theatre season poster prints.
Exhibition planning and design group Cultural Innovations was appointed to remodel the exhibition in July. It completed the fit-out in ten weeks after being drafted on to the project by its subsidiary company Hyper Exhibitions, which won a pitch in February to review the Globe’s entire visitor experience.
‘We needed to reconfigure the exhibition content and make it a more meaningful experience for visitors,’ says McNair. ‘The exhibition had not been refreshed since the theatre was built ten years ago, and exhibition design has really moved along in that time.’
Cultural Innovations responded by reducing the 300m2 space’s reliance on text panels, and by creating a modular system for displaying artefacts. The centrepiece of the show – a reconstruction of an Elizabethan costume workshop – was moved to make it more accessible.
‘Our key task was to refocus the thematic content and the displays, so that the exhibition draws the visitor into a deeper understanding of the influence of the original Globe on Shakespeare’s art and his London,’ says Cultural Innovations director Martyn Best.
Shakespeare’s Globe Trust is currently trying to raise £20m to expand its facilities on to a nearby site on Bear Gardens. The construction project will fall into three parts, beginning with the development of new education facilities, followed by the building of a new library and archive centre and finally the creation of an indoor theatre on the existing site.
A spokeswoman for the theatre confirmed that an architect has not yet been engaged to manage the project.
The projected date for completion of the Globe improvements plan is December 2008.
SUCH STUFF AS DREAMS ARE MADE ON
• Shakespeare’s Globe consists of the Globe Theatre, Globe Education and Shakespeare’s Globe Exhibition
• Founded by American actor and director Sam Wanamaker, the Globe took four years to build, from 1993 to 1997
• The 2100m2 development cost £30m to build, with an extra estimated £20m required to complete the remaining phases of the Globe’s capital programme