New Theatre Quarterly

Research Article

Reconstructing Theatre: the Globe under Dominic Dromgoole

Tom Cornford


In this article Tom Cornford examines the policy of extending and adapting the permanent stage of Shakespeare's Globe for each new production, as pursued by Dominic Dromgoole since the beginning of his tenure as Artistic Director in 2006. The article responds initially to John Russell Brown's equation in NTQ 102 of a particular kind of ‘intimate’ acting with ‘small theatres’. Cornford resists this conflation of acting and building, seeing in it a tendency to obscure both the role of reconstructed theatres to challenge contemporary notions of the ‘rightness’ of theatre spaces and the role of directors and actors to convert their apparent problems into opportunities. He explores the transformation of the Globe since 2006, using interviews given by Dromgoole and the directors working with the Globe's research team to critique the theory underpinning the ‘permanently temporary’ alterations to the theatre, and takes the evidence of performances to examine their use of the space in practice. Cornford offers a selection of staging solutions to the apparent ‘problems’ identified by Dromgoole and his team, and proposes an alternative model of reconstruction: not the rebuilding of the theatre, but the constant reviewing of theatre practice, including training. Tom Cornford is a freelance director and teacher of acting for the Guthrie Theater/University of Minnesota BFA Program, the Actors' Centre in London, and Globe Education at Shakespeare's Globe. He was, until recently, Artist in Residence at the CAPITAL Centre in the University of Warwick, where he is undertaking PhD research.