FIRE AT THE 'GLOBE'!
Bankside Playhouse Utterly Destroyed!
Scoop Report by our own Malvolio Oldcastle
This afternoon at about three o'clock fire broke out at London's favourite playhouse, the 'Globe.' This occured during a performance of William Shakespeare's latest play, All is True, better known as Henry the Eighth.
The fire started at the beginning of the play when the actor playing King Henry the Eighth was making his appearance on stage. Just as he was stepping onto the stage, one of the cannons that were firing in order to make the king's entrance more impressive, shot off a spark which immediately ignited the playhouse's thatched roof.
Within minutes the whole structure was blazing. Sir Henry Wotton, the author, diplomat and politician, later told your reporter,
The King's players had a new play called "All is True" representing some principal pieces of the reign of Henry VIII. When certain cannons being shot off at Henry's entry, some of the paper or other stuff, wherewith one of them was stopped, did light on the thatch, where being thought at first but idle smoak, and their more attendant to the show, it kindled inwardly, and ran around like a train, consuming within less than an hour the whole house to the very ground.
Sir Henry Wotton
Naturally, when the audience of 3,000 playgoers observed the fire taking hold of the whole building, panic spread as fast as that of the blazing thatch on the roof. Everyone rushed for the doorways which consisted of two very narrow exits. Thankfully nobody was wounded or killed in the massive hasty dash for safety.
Only one playgoer was hurt making his way for the exit. We do not know his name but as another playgoer told your reporter,
"one man had his breeches set on fire, that would perhaps have broyled him, if he had not, by the benefit of a provident wit, put it out with a bottle of ale."
It is thought that Mr Shakespeare's friend and rival playwright was in the playhouse at the time but we could not find anyone to confirm this story. However, it is thought Mr. Shakespeare lost many of the original drafts of his plays in the blaze. Your reporter also learned that despite the above, Mr. Shakespeare did not lose any of his own monies because of this unfortunate incident as he had previously sold his shares in the Globe. It is now known that he is now spending much of his time back at home in Warwickshire where he resides with his wife, Anne, in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Two questions must now be asked. Is the King's company of players thinking of rebuilding their playhouse and if so, will they construct it with more and wider exits if God forbid, another fire breaks out?
Next blog - The Globe part 3
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