Odessa, Texas is the unlikely locale for this authentically Shakespearean theatre.
A Confluence of Texas and the River Thames
Photos by Caleb Kerr.
For all intents and purposes, William Shakespeare’s actual birthday remains a mystery. However, this year marks the 450th anniversary of his baptism—the first and most reliable documented life event of his childhood.
It’s incredible to think that our culture is still so heavily influenced by a man born over four and a half centuries ago. And while much of his staying power as a poet and playwright lives tacitly beneath the surface of contemporary culture, there are other, more tangible manifestations of Shakespeare’s legacy.
One of these is “The Globe of the Great Southwest”—a historically accurate replica of Shakespeare’s original Globe Theatre reconstructed in Odessa, TX. Opened in 1968, the Globe Theatre Odessa took ten years to build from initial fundraising to the first public performance.
Appropriately, the initial idea to build the Globe Theatre in Odessa was hatched in a high school English class taught by Marjorie Morris. For a project on Shakespeare, a student brought a small-scale model of the original Globe Theatre to class, commenting offhand that it would be vastly more engaging to have a life-sized replica to show instead. It was this that set the wheels in motion for Mrs. Morris, who began fundraising soon after.
The Globe Theatre in Odessa is an exact reconstruction of its original counterpart in London. The theatre seats 418 viewers around an 1,800 square-foot stage that protrudes well into the middle of the building to replicate the intimate actor-audience relationship of Shakespeare’s day. Additionally, the theatre’s octagonal shape and building materials work together to give the space incredible acoustics to add even more to each performance.
Currently, the Globe Theatre in Odessa is run by a non-profit organization that presents classical and contemporary theatre in the unique setting of an Elizabethan stage. As such, the space features a regular rotation of performances, including a variety of plays, community activities, and monthly country western shows.
To learn more about upcoming events, be sure to visit the Globe Theatre’s website.