Shakespeare back to life 400 years after death

Some of the actors modelling their costumes for their roles in the Pop-Up Globe (Cassie Devoy / Newshub)
Some of the actors modelling their costumes for their roles in the Pop-Up Globe (Cassie Devoy / Newshub)

A world-first pop up theatre's launching in Auckland to pay tribute to William Shakespeare, 400 years after his death.

It's a memorial that would've surely impressed Shakespeare himself: an exact replica of his Globe Theatre.

Modelled on the second Globe Theatre, it's a very different size and shape to the modern Globe in London.

Director Tobias Grant says he's excited to see the project go from idea to reality in just one year.

"There was no doubt in my mind that this would happen. It's a very audacious project and a bold idea but we've had so much support from so many different organisations that there was never any doubt in my mind that it would happen," he says.

"I'm thrilled with the outcome, it's sensational."

A huge amount of effort has gone into the full-scale theatre.

Builder Darren Lynch says it feels great to have the work completed after five weeks of intense construction.

"The hardest part was when we started basing it out, that took a bit of time, but after that it just flew up.

"It's been pretty straightforward, we've kept to the drawings. This is the first time I've done something to this scale."

Costume-maker and designer Chantelle Gerrard has had a mad few weeks putting together outfits that are authentic and time-appropriate.

She's worked on costumes for Game of Thrones and The Martian, and says historical costumes are her main interest.

The Pop-Up Globe can house up to 900 people, with the audience completely surrounding the stage.

In fact, some of the best seats in the house are located in the Lords' and Gentlemen's rooms on the two levels directly behind the stage.

The huge stage is one most actors wouldn't be used to -- it's over 100sqm, just as Shakespeare's own cast enjoyed 400 years ago.

I think he [Shakespeare] would be proud of it," says Jatinder Singh, who plays Antonio.

"It's a magical space, and I'm happy to share some of what those actors would have. It's special, and it's a gift.

"The building is quite large but when you step inside and you're on the stage and the groundlings are right there it creates this intensity of truth that as an actor, you're always striving for.

"[There's this] intimacy and grandness, the sense of scale without being separated from the audience."

The actors have been hard at work too. Phodiso Tintew, who plays Valentine, says you don't have to be a Shakespeare nerd, but you do have to be willing to put in a bit of work.

"You can't just walk into it and expect to understand what you're doing. There's a certain air of knowledge that comes with doing Shakespeare -- lots of research.

"If you know the script, you're on the right track."

The first performance is tomorrow night, kicking off with one of Shakespeare's best-known works, Romeo and Juliet.