13 Mar 2024

Pop-up Globe Parties on Indoors

by Jenny Barrett

Two successful runs see Pop-up Globe rise from the ashes

Pop-up Globe is the world’s first full scale temporary working replica of Shakespeare’s theatre, the second Globe. Created entirely in New Zealand, it popped up for the first time in Auckland in February 2016 where it was the unexpected smash hit event of the Auckland summer. Between 2017 and 2019 it popped up again in Auckland, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth, producing seventeen full scale productions of Shakespeare’s masterworks  and earning popular and critical acclaim wherever it went. It delighted 750,000 audience members. Then Covid crushed it. When lockdowns and restrictions made it impossible to trade, there was no option but to put the group of companies into liquidation.
“Putting the companies into liquidation was devastating,” says Tobias. “Pop-up Globe was just at the starting line when Covid hit. We had great work, an amazing team and support network in NZ and beyond, and most importantly, wonderful audiences.” Then a light at the end of the tunnel appeared when the liquidator put Tobias under instruction to create future trading for Pop-up Globe. A challenging assignment, Tobias was delighted to take it on, “It’s a long road back and I’m determined to make it happen. The first step was simple. Get our team back together, make a Pop-up Globe show, and delight some Pop-up Globe fans in a short season at our home in Auckland.”

Number one, the team. David Lawrence, one of the country’s most renowned and experienced directors of Shakespeare, who was Pop-up Globe’s associate artistic director between 2015 and 2020 put his hand up, “David is the best person in the world to lead Pop-up Globe’s artistic team in this new adventure,” says Tobias. “He is the perfect custodian of founder Miles’ legacy and, like me, he is extraordinarily driven to realise Pop-up Globe’s potential to create joy for as many people as possible.”
The rest of David’s artistic team is a who’s who of every Pop-up Globe production. It includes movement director Brigid Costello, music director Paul McLaney, technical director Jono Wilce, and fight director Alexander Holloway.


Number two, secure venues. Following in the footsteps of the original Shakespeare company who shifted into theatres, pubs, and palaces across the countryside when the plague forced them out of London, the Pop Up Globe looked to existing theatres. The team chose to rise from the ashes of Covid at Q Theatre, the same Auckland location the concept was unveiled in 2016. Q Theatre hosted five performances of Twelfth Night in October; followed by another run of Twelfth Night and Romeo and Juliet at Sky City Theatre.

Popping up in existing venues means there’s all the comforts of the indoors i.e. a roof and seating but the challenge of retaining the bawdy, boisterous, in-your-face signature style of the ‘Wooden O’. With some of the audience on the stage, there was all the interaction and the blood splatters to be expected of Pop-up Globe. The physical theatre was at it finest, the set and costumes magnificent.

Pop-up Globe have done what they do best, taken the crew, cast, costumes, props, music, and style of the pre-Covid Globe and met the demands of larger indoor venues, drawing in a more dispersed audience to give them the Elizabethan experience.


And got the nostalgia burning for their heyday, leaving audiences looking forward to the next step on their road to recovery.


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