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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 October, 2003, 10:54 GMT 11:54 UK
Italy gets Globe Theatre replica
By David Willey
BBC, Rome

A replica of London's Globe Theatre, where the plays of William Shakespeare were first performed 400 years ago, is opening in Rome on Tuesday with a performance in Italian of "Romeo and Juliet".

The theatre is built entirely of wood and with no roof to protect spectators in the pit, just like the original Globe Theatre in London

Italian Globe under construction
Spectators will sit in open galleries
It has been built in only four months in one of Rome's public gardens.

It is a gift to the city of Rome from a builder, and will be used for performances not only of Shakespeare's works but also for other playwrights and poets of different nationalities.

Concerts will also take place inside the circular theatre, which can hold more than 1,200 spectators.

The mayor of Rome said the new theatre presented the positive side of globalisation - that of culture.

Theatre companies from the UK will be invited to perform in English at the Rome Globe, he said.

London's Globe Theatre
London's Globe Theatre is a popular tourist site
Although Rome has some spectacular backdrops for open-air performances, concerts, opera and plays at some famous archaeological sites such as the ancient Roman forum have had to be discontinued because of the risk of damaging delicate ancient structures.

For more than a decade, summer opera performances at the ruins of the baths of the Emperor Caracalla were discontinued, although they have now resumed on a diminished scale.

The plays of Shakespeare are still widely performed in Italian translation - the Italian settings of some of them appeal to local audiences.

It has never been established for certain, however, whether William Shakespeare, despite his apparent familiarity with Italy, ever actually visited the country.

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