TOBIAS Grant has never been one to shy away from a challenge, which is why he said yes when long-time friend and artistic director Dr Miles Gregory approached him at home in Auckland with the idea for Pop-up Globe.
“He said he had this idea to build the world’s first full-scale, temporary, working replica of the second Globe theatre, which is Shakespeare’s theatre that’s been lost to history,” executive producer Grant said.
“He wanted to open it and put on a festival of his masterworks for the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, which was in April 2016 and only gave us 15 months before it opened.
“I said it was either a genius idea or a horrific idea and we’re only going to know if we actually do it. This thing is a monster, but I’m very grateful we did.”
The three-storey recreation is a temporary building that replicates the dimensions with 1000 pieces of scaffolding, has the famous onion dome and a 100sq m stage.
The 940 audience members at each performance have the ticketing choice of either being a groundling who stands, sitting on the wooden benches in the lower gallery or in the classic best seats in the house.
“Pop-up Globe is an extraordinary time machine, aiming to recreate, as faithfully as possible, the experience Shakespeare’s own audience would have had at the time,” Grant said.
“Wherever you are in the theatre, whether you sit or stand, you are no more than 15m away from the action happening on stage.”
After seasons in Auckland, Sydney and Melbourne, Pop-up Globe will pop up at Crown Perth (in the carpark closest to The Food Court) from October 5 with a festival season of four productions: Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Measure for Measure and Twelfth Night.
“We tend to think of Shakespeare’s time as being quite simplistic and it wasn’t at all,” Grant said.
“They knew how to make people appear on stage in a puff of smoke, they knew how to make them fly and had amazing fights. We are a very large importer of stage blood.
“You literally feel like you’re part of the action and in some cases you will be part of the action, depending on where you are in the theatre, because the actors aren’t necessarily that great at staying on the stage in some of the performances.
“It’s not actors acting to you and the audience is a key part of the experience. All performances are in flat light, so whether it’s an afternoon matinee or evening, the house lights stay on throughout and everyone shares the same lighting.”
Bookings at www.ticketmaster.com.au.