The reconstructed Shakespeare's Globe was designed to resemble the 16th-century original as closely as possible, constructed with 600 oak pegs (there's not a nail or screw in the house), specially fired Tudor-style bricks and a circular thatch roof that leaves the theatre's centre – and the groundlings watching the performance – vulnerable to the elements. Guided tours take in the architecture and give access to the exhibition space, with displays on Shakespeare, life in Bankside and theatre in the 17th century.
Despite Shakespeare's worldwide popularity, the original Globe Theatre, demolished by the Puritans in 1644, was almost a distant memory when American actor Sam Wanamaker came searching for it in 1949. He began fundraising for a memorial theatre, and work started in 1987. Sadly, Wanamaker died four years before the theatre opened in 1997.
Shakespeare wrote for both outdoor and indoor theatre, and outside the Globe's April to October season, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse – an indoor candlelit Jacobean-style theatre similar to what Shakespeare would have used in winter – puts on year-round performances.