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The Shipping Container Globe, Blending Modern with Classic

William Shakespeare built The Globe theatre hundreds of years ago. Now, shipping containers are being modified to copy his circular design for theatres. The Container Globe is a portal theatre that is easy to set up and break down. Shipping containers are stacked in threes and filled with seating and are laid out in a manner similar to Shakespeare’s original theatre.

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Comprised of 60 Shipping Containers

The theatre is comprised of sixty shipping containers, and it will be able to house 1,200 people; 650 of which will be standing on the ground floor, just as it was done in Shakespeare’s Globe. The containers used for the seating gallery are 20 feet long. They used 40-foot storage containers for doors leading out to the main stage, and a second one is on top of that as a balcony that overlooks the stage. Finally, they add a third container on top, and stack three more behind these, to act as the backstage area.

After the storage containers are set up, the entire structure is covered in an industrial mesh to give the audience shelter from the wind and rain, while still allowing enough light to come in for the audience to see the performance. The mesh is also intended to help lessen the sounds of rain hitting the containers.

Inspiration Behind the Container Globe

Angus Vail, the creator of this project, worked with the Globe in London to get ideas for the construction and design of his Globe. Vail also has the support of the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Shakespeare Theatre Association.

Vail’s inspiration for this project was a visit to Shakespeare’s Globe five years ago. The experience left him awestruck, since seeing a play at the Globe is a radically different experience than visiting a traditional theatre.

Since shipping containers travel so well, it would be easy for a traveling play or concert to take their venue with them, so they can make sure they always have the best acoustics for their performance; the metal walls allow for better acoustics than other types of venues. These venues can also be set up pretty much anywhere, so they could bring their art to more rural areas.

“I’d like to build or bring Globes to many places in the U.S., and the world,” said Vail. “The London Globe has been very supportive because they are keen to bring their productions and actors to play in a venue that is pretty much the same environment as their Globe. Plus, the London Globe has a very strong education program, and we believe that we’ll be able to provide a great educational program.”

The first Container Globe is currently under construction in Detroit, Michigan and is anticipated to open in 2019.  After it opens, they plan to bring in food trucks and work with local businesses, in hopes of stimulating the economy and bringing new jobs and skills to the area.

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