Indoor Globe Theatre to honour Sam Wanamaker

By Jennifer Lipman, November 28, 2012
Israel's Habima Theatre Company at the Globe (Photo: Simon Kane)

Israel's Habima Theatre Company at the Globe (Photo: Simon Kane)

Entertainment legend Sam Wanamaker's contribution to the British stage is to be recognised with a new theatre on London's Southbank named after him.

The new Sam Wanamaker Theatre, an indoor Jacobean-style venue next to the Globe at which plays will be staged by candlelight, is due to open in just over a year. The 340-seat venue will enable Globe audiences to enjoy theatre all year round, as opposed to only during the summer months at the outdoor Globe.

The Globe's artistic director, Dominic Dromgoole, said the hope was "to build a theatre Shakespeare might recognise".

The plans reflect the aspirations of Mr Wanamaker himself, who died at the age of 74 in 1993, four years before the Globe reopened. An actor and director, born Samuel Watenmaker in Chicago to Russian Jewish immigrants, he had made it his life's mission to see Shakespeare's Globe restored, after a first visit to London in 1949.

Mr Wanamaker, the father of actress Zoe Wanamaker, worked on Broadway but moved to Britain during the McCarthyist Red Scare. He worked as both an actor and a director, at for a time during 1950s was a frequent speaker at Jewish fundraising events.

Plays staged at the Sam Wanamaker theatre are expected to include works of 16th century writers including John Webster, who wrote The Duchess of Malfi. As with the Globe, ticket prices will start at just £10.

Last updated: 10:28am, November 28 2012