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Shakespeare’s Globe archive to be digitized

August 4, 2016

Adam Matthew and Shakespeare’s Globe announce landmark digitization project of world-renowned theatre archive

London, UK. Adam Matthew and Shakespeare’s Globe are delighted to announce their collaboration on a landmark digital project - ‘Shakespeare’s Globe: Performances and Practices’. This major agreement will see the digitization of the majority of Shakespeare’s Globe’s archives, preserved since its opening in 1997. The collection will include an array of essential material for the study of Shakespeare, literature, theatre and performance, and will publish in Spring 2019, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Globe’s founder, Sam Wanamaker in June 1919.

Khal Rudin, Managing Director of Adam Matthew, said:

“Education is at the heart of Shakespeare’s Globe and we’re very excited to have been chosen to digitise their vitally important archive, providing the global academic community with the opportunity to access it online”.

American film director and actor, Wanamaker, fought for 23 years to reconstruct the Globe Theatre in London, sadly not living to witness it opening in 1997. Extensive scholarly research sought to reconstruct the theatre with all details as close as possible to the original theatre of 1599.

Shakespeare’s Globe has its own research program and academic faculty with an unparalleled scholarly resource of material relating to early music, theatre history, historical dress, props and the Globe’s performance history, much of which will be documented in the new collection. Shakespeare’s Globe has kept a remarkably detailed archive which, as well as documenting every performance, also includes designs and plans for the reconstruction of The Globe Theatre. 

‘Shakespeare’s Globe: Performances and Practices’ will include:

  • Prompt books, containing key staging information from directors, actors and backstage crew.
  • Wardrobe bibles, including photographs, sketches and preliminary costume ideas.
  • Music files, showing musical stage direction and content for productions.
  • Audience reports, including details such as weather, how well the play was received and numbers of ‘fainters’.
  • Performance programs.
  • Event folders, detailing numerous events held both before Shakespeare’s Globe was constructed and since.
  • Photographs, covering productions, events and the theatres.
  • Architectural research notes and drawings, detailing the new indoor and outdoor theatres.

Farah Karim-Cooper, Globe Education’s Head of Higher Education and Research, commented:

 “This project has come at a perfect time in not only the Globe’s life but also in the life of academic research, which is increasingly preoccupied with performance history and practice. We couldn’t be more thrilled that Adam Matthew will make it possible for scholars and students around the world to engage directly with the material history of Shakespeare’s Globe”.

The next major capital development and final stage in the realization of Sam Wanamaker’s vision for the Globe, Project Prospero, will see a fully integrated campus on Bankside enabling scholars, audiences and the general public to engage at every level with Shakespeare’s work.  The new building will include the Globe Library, new production facilities, new rehearsal and education studios and a new Exhibition.  

As part of a growing list of theatre studies titles from Adam Matthew, which already includes: ‘Eighteenth Century Drama: Censorship, Society and the Stage’, and ‘Shakespeare in Performance: Prompt Books from the Folger Shakespeare Library’, this project will provide students and scholars with unrivalled behind-the-scenes access to the world’s most famous theatre.

Institutions can register their interest in ‘Shakespeare’s Globe: Performances and Practices’ with Adam Matthew now.


Adam Matthew, an imprint of SAGE Publishing, is an award winning publisher of digital primary source collections for the humanities and social sciences. Sourced from leading libraries and archives around the world, their unique research and teaching collections cover a wide range of subject areas from medieval family life to 20th century history, literature and culture.


Shakespeare’s Globe, London

Founded by the pioneering American actor and director Sam Wanamaker, Shakespeare's Globe is a unique international resource dedicated to the exploration of Shakespeare's work and the playhouse for which he wrote, through the connected means of performance and education.

Together, the Globe Theatre, Globe Exhibition & Tour and Globe Education seek to further the experience and international understanding of Shakespeare in performance.

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