London, UK - Shakespeare's Globe Theater; Lenox, MA - Shakespeare Company Theater

Globe Theatre.jpg


London, UK - Shakespeare's Globe Theater; Lenox, MA - Shakespeare Company Theater

Catalog Entry

The current Globe Theater located in London, England was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1996. The opening show in this newly-opened theater was a performance of Henry V. In this image of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, the focus is on the masks of comedy and tragedy. These masks of drama date back to Greek mythology. The mask on the left is Thalia, who is the muse of comedy. On the right of the photo is Melpomene, representing tragedy. Since Ancient Greece, every play script has included aspects of tragedy, comedy, or both, especially the great plays of William Shakespeare performed at the Globe Theater depicted here. One of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies, Hamlet, is often performed at the Globe. In his tragedy, Shakespeare presents us with our tragic hero Hamlet, who is trying to avenge his father’s death. He sees the ghost of his father, who tells him his brother and Hamlet’s uncle killed him to marry the Queen Gertrude and take over the crown. In an effort to frame his uncle and trap him in his lie, Hamlet sets up a performance that seems to have a plot similar to the lies that Hamlet is accusing Claudius of hiding. Hamlet watches closely to see how Claudius reacts to the performance, hoping he will show guilt all over his face and reveal himself as King Hamlet’s murderer. This play within a play, “The Murder of Gonzago," is relevant to the evolution of plays themselves.

In Lenox, Massachusetts is located the Shakespeare Company Theater. Founded in 1978, The Shakespeare Company in Lenox is dedicated to both Shakespeare’s works as well as medieval theater. During this opening year of 1978, the company performed only two different plays, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Three Voices of Edith Wharton. During last year’s performance season, the Company staged ten different plays, including The Merchant of Venice, Or, The Two Gentleman of Verona, The Taming, Ugly Lies the Bone, Cry “Havoc”, Sotto Voce, Twelfth Night, The Emperor of the Moon, and It’s a Wonderful Life. At Shakespeare and Company, “[they] embrace the classical ideals and visceral experience of Shakespeare’s work: collaboration, commitment to language, physical prowess and the embodied voice."

Now, for the greater question, what do Hamlet, the Globe Theater, and the Shakespeare Company Theater of Lenox, Massachusetts have in common? They all advocate for the culture and importance of theater. The Globe Theater focuses on the impact Shakespeare had on the world of theater and performance and strives to help in the education of Shakespeare. In his play Hamlet, Shakespeare incorporates a “play within a play” as a way to, as Jillian Woods wrote in her article “Hamlet: The Play within the Play”, “produce a real impact on those who view [it]” (Woods). The Shakespeare Company keeps Shakespeare’s work alive by its dedication to his plays and medieval theater in general.


“About Us / Shakespeare's Globe.” Shakespeare's Globe, Accessed 4 May 2018.

Mackay, Charles. A Glossary of Obscure Words and Phrases in the Writings of Shakspeare and
His Contemporaries
. Sampson, Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington, 1887.

“Performance History.” Shakespeare & Company, Accessed 4 May 2018.

Wood, Jillian. “Hamlet: the Play within the Play.” The British Library, 6 Nov. 2015,

Catalog Entry Author(s)

Brianna Ohman, Student, Fitchburg State University

Research Assistant(s)

Anthony de Freitas, Student, Fitchburg State University
Oliver Dogbe, Student, Fitchburg State University


Kisha G. Tracy


“London, UK - Shakespeare's Globe Theater; Lenox, MA - Shakespeare Company Theater,” Cultural Heritage through Image, accessed September 27, 2022,

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