Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Obituaries | PASSINGS

John Orrell, 68; Helped Re-Create Shakespeare's Globe

October 01, 2003|From Staff and Wire Reports

John Orrell, 68, whose historical research helped with the 1997 re-creation of Shakespeare's original Globe Theater on the South Bank of the Thames in London, died Sept. 6 of melanoma in Edmonton, Canada.

A native of Kent, England, Orrell was a Shakespeare scholar with a degree from Oxford University who immigrated to Canada to earn his doctorate from the University of Toronto. He spent his career teaching at the University of Alberta in Edmonton and researching historic theaters.

The professor was brought into the Globe reconstruction project as chief historical advisor by its instigator, the late American actor Sam Wanamaker. The original Globe, for which Shakespeare wrote such works as "Hamlet" and "Macbeth," stood from 1599 until it burned in 1613.

Rebuilt, it was closed in 1642 by Oliver Cromwell's Puritans, who banned theaters, and was torn down in 1644. No plans for either structure survived.

Although his conclusions are still debated, Orrell found a reasonable solution by overlaying a 1640 etching of London by Wenceslaus Hollar on a modern map, and using trigonometry to calculate dimensions.

At Wanamaker's urging, Orrell sparked the theater's reconstruction effort with his 1983 book "The Quest for Shakespeare's Globe."

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|