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Last Updated: Friday, 23 April, 2004, 17:05 GMT 18:05 UK
Berlin plans Globe Theatre replica
Italian Globe under construction
A replica has been built in Italy

Berlin has taken the first steps in building a replica of the original Globe Theatre, at which many of Shakespeare's plays were first performed.

A marker for the theatre was laid on the 440th anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare.

The replica 17th Century playhouse will be built on a wasteland between one of the last remaining pieces of the Berlin Wall and the river Spree.

A first replica was opened in London in 1997, while a second Globe theatre opened in Rome last year.

The area in Berlin was selected for its similarity to the riverside surroundings of the Globe Theatre in London, said architect Hans-Joachim Prast.

London's Globe Theatre
London's Globe Theatre is a popular tourist site
The wooden, three-tiered construction will open in 2007 and will hold an audience of 750. It will have a sliding roof so that performances can take place all year round.

"Berlin is a cultural centre, we have the most museums here and I see this project as a must for the city," said Mr Prast.

The project will not be subsidised and will rely on sponsors to fund the initial costs of up to four million euros ($4.75 million).

"Shakespeare is still very much alive today and I'm sure there will be no problems funding the theatre through ticket sales," said Mr Prast.

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