The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0418  Tuesday, 9 May 2006

From: 		Kathy Dent <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Monday, 08 May 2006 13:21:57 +0100
Subject: 	A Roof on the Globe?

The most recent edition of the Southwark Globe's mailing list contains 
this piece of news:

"The Globe will put a roof on its famous open-air amphitheatre this year 
for the first time in its history. The roof is part of the designs for 
Titus Andronicus playing at the Globe from 20 May to 6 October.

"Designer William Dudley has taken as his inspiration the innovative 
feature of the Coliseum known as the valerium - a cooling system which 
consisted of a canvas-covered, net-like structure made of ropes, with a 
hole in the centre.  This roof covered two-thirds of the arena, and sloped 
down towards the centre to catch the wind and provide a breeze for the 

"Dudley's design for a black roof for Titus Andronicus will create a dark 
and funereal setting for Shakespeare's earliest and most macabre tragedy, 
echoing the play's themes of war and death.

"William Dudley is one of the world's most influential and innovative 
theatre designers. He has designed more than 50 productions at the 
National Theatre in London and is winner of a record seven Olivier Awards. 
On Broadway, his credits include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Amadeus at the 
Metropolitan Opera. His first film design, Jane Austen's Persuasion for 
BBC Films, won him a BAFTA Award."

I feel somewhat dismayed by the thought that the Globe's raison d'etre is 
so comprehensively nullified by putting a roof on it!  The text of Titus 
as we have it was not made for indoor playing and I wonder at the spurious 
logic that informs this design choice: it's okay to put a roof on because 
that's what the Romans did at the Coliseum.

Kathy Dent

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