Globe Theatre Heavens
The Globe Theatre Heavens
was the name given for the false ceiling over the stage. The
'Heavens' provided shelter for the actors and their costumes
during inclement weather. The heavens were also referred to as the 'Shadow' due to
the large shadow it cast over the audience in the yard or pit. The
false stage ceiling was supported by two large ' Herculean '
columns (pillars) made of huge, single tree trunks,
elaborately painted to resemble marble. The architecture of
the Globe theatre was deliberately designed to reflect
easily recognisable elements of Roman or Greek architecture
thus elevating the bad reputation of plays and actors to the
much admired Greek or Roman classical plays. The
above picture of the new Globe Theatre stage illustrates the
pillars and the heavens.
The Globe Theatre Heavens False
The false ceiling provided
the opportunity to stage some exciting special effects. The false
ceiling was designed with trap doors. Through the trap doors actors,
attached by a harness with wires or ropes, could make flying entrances
on to the stage. To add to the effect these wires could be concealed
beneath the actor's costume. Other unusual special effects could be made
from the heavens including different sounds. Musical instruments such as
the trumpet, or drums. Actors skilled in imitating the baying of hounds
and crowing of roosters or the wailing of ghostly sounds. Even the sound
of thunder could be improvised from the heavens. Another prop which
could have been used by the Globe Theatre was flowers. Flower petals
might have been dropped from the heavens at the end of a play where a
happy occasion or celebratory procession ended the play.
Description of the Globe Theatre Heavens
What did the Globe Theatre
Heavens look like? It was a false ceiling supported by two huge pillars.
No detailed description of the heavens in the original Globe Theatre has
survived - fragments from letters and Shakespeare's own words have
provided clues. However, the ceiling was believed to be elaborately painted to depict the heavens
- hence its name. The theme of the heavens fitted well with the
classical concept of the Globe, designed to give the theatre an air of
respectability. Conversely This was taken from the term 'hell
mouth' which was used to refer to any trap-door in the bottom of a stage
(called the cellerage).
Globe Theatre Heavens
Interesting Facts and information
about the Globe Theatre Heavens. Additional details, facts and information about the
Globe Theatre can be accessed via the Globe Theatre Sitemap.