Old Globe Theatre

The Old Globe is a professional theatre company located in Balboa Park in San Diego, California. It produces about 15 plays and musicals annually in summer and winter seasons. Plays are performed in three separate theatres in the complex, which is collectively called the Simon Edison Centre for the Performing Arts:

  • Old Globe Theatre – 600-seat flagship theatre, fully enclosed, featuring the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage
  • Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre – 250-seat intimate theatre in the round (completed 2009)
  • Lowell Davies Festival Theatre – 615-seat outdoor theatre
The Old Globe
Address1363 Old Globe Way
LocationSan Diego, California, U.S.
Coordinates32°43′55.89″N 117°9′5.48″W
TypeRegional theater
CapacityOld Globe Theatre: 580
Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre: 250
Lowell Davies Festival Theatre: 620
ArchitectThomas Wood Stevens (original); Liebhardt, Botton & Associates, A.I.A. (rebuilt)

The Old Globe Theatre and the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre are part of the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center. The White Theatre is located within the Karen and Donald Cohn Education Center.


The Old Globe Theatre was built in 1935, designed by Richard Requa as part of the California Pacific International Exposition. The theatre was based on a copy of one built for the Chicago Century of Progress, which in turn was a copy of the Globe Theatre in London, England, where many of William Shakespeare's plays were performed during his lifetime. Like the original Globe, the theatre was open in the center with a roof over the seating on the sides.

During the exposition, it hosted 50-minute versions of Shakespeare plays. At the end of the exposition, the Globe had been received so well that a nonprofit organization called the San Diego Community Theatre was formed to save the temporary structure from demolition. The committee leased the structure from the city, produced full-length plays, and created a more permanent structure by roofing over the theatre and bringing it up to code.[1]

In 1939, a young actor and director named Craig Noel was hired as general director. During World War II the U.S. Navy took over all buildings in Balboa Park, including the Globe. The Community Theatre group stayed together, producing one-act plays in various venues around San Diego. When the Globe was returned to civilian use in 1947, Noel returned as general director, and he remained in a leadership position until his death in 2010. In 1949 he launched the Globe's summer Shakespeare Festival in partnership with the drama department at University of San Diego. Since then the Shakespeare festival has been presented every summer except 1953, when Noel broke with tradition by producing the smash hit play Mister Roberts instead. The Globe continued to produce a combination of modern plays along with Shakespeare and other classics. In 1981 Jack O'Brien was hired as artistic director, while Noel became executive producer.[2]

The Cassius Carter Centre Stage, a theater in the round, was added in 1969 in what had been the Falstaff Tavern restaurant. It was rebuilt in 2009 as the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre.

In March 1978, the Globe Theatre was destroyed in an arson fire, and an outdoor festival stage was hastily constructed so that the 1978 season could still be produced. The Globe Theatre was rebuilt and reopened in 1981. In 1984, the festival stage in turn succumbed to arson. It was rebuilt and is now named the Lowell Davies Festival Theatre. The entire three-theatre complex is called the Simon Edison Centre for the Performing Arts.

The Globe has grown into an internationally known theatre complex, an "influential powerhouse among regional theatres."[3] In 1984 it received the Tony Award for best regional theatre.

Productions that went to Broadway

Shows which originated at the Old Globe have gone on to Broadway to win nine Tony Awards and nearly 60 nominations.[4][5]

Year Show Opened on Broadway Notes
1987 Into the Woods 1988 Won Best Actress, Best Score, and Best Book of a Musical at 1988 Tony Awards
1988 Joe Turner's Come and Gone 1988 Won Best Featured Actress in a Play at 1988 Tony Awards
1988 Rumors 1989 Won Best Featured Actress in a Play at 1989 Tony Awards
1989 The Piano Lesson 1990
1990 Jake's Women 1992
1991 Two Trains Running 1992 Won Best Featured Actor in a Play at 1992 Tony Awards
1993 Redwood Curtain 1993 Won Best Featured Actress in a Play at 1993 Tony Awards
1993 Damn Yankees 1994 Won Best Featured Actor in a Musical at 1994 Tony Awards
1995 Getting Away With Murder (Globe title: "The Doctor is Out") 1996
1996 Play On! 1997
1998 Getting and Spending 1998
1998–present Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas! 2006
2000 The Full Monty 2000
2002 Imaginary Friends 2002
2003 Julius Caesar 2005
2003 Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All 2004
2004 Dirty Rotten Scoundrels 2005 Won Best Leading Actor in a Musical at 2005 Tony Awards
2005 Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life 2005
2006 The Times They Are A-Changin' 2006
2007 A Catered Affair 2008
2012 Allegiance 2015
2013 A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder 2013 Won Best Musical, Best Book, Best Costume Design of a Musical, and Best Direction of a Musical at 2014 Tony Awards
2014 Bright Star 2016
2016 Meteor Shower 2017


  1. "History". Old Globe Theatre. Retrieved 3 August 2017.
  2. Mohr, Beth (Spring 1985). "The Old Globe Theatre: Highlights From Fifty Years". The Journal of San Diego History. 31 (2). Retrieved 2008-05-30.
  3. Weber, Bruce (April 12, 2010). "Craig Noel, a Force in Regional Theater, Dies at 94". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-07-09.
  4. San Diego News Network, April 4, 2010 Archived February 24, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  5. "Globe to Broadway". theoldglobe.org. The Old Globe. Retrieved 12 November 2018.
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