The Old Globe
Address1363 Old Globe Way
LocationSan Diego, California, U.S.
Coordinates32°43′56.1″N 117°9′8″W / 32.732250°N 117.15222°W / 32.732250; -117.15222
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 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:

The Old Globe Theatre and the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre are part of the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center.[2] The White Theatre is located within the Karen and Donald Cohn Education Center.[3]



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.[4] The Globe Players, founded by Thomas Wood Stevens, began by producing abridged adaptations of Shakespeare plays in The Globe to attract tourists in the San Diego area, with most of the plays lasting less than an hour.[5]

The first director of the Globe theater was Luther Kennett (1937), and on December 2, 1937, the remodeled Old Globe Theatre opened with a production of John Van Druten's 1933 play The Distaff Side. In the cast was a young actor named Craig Noel, whose presence as an actor, director, and artistic leader would guide the theatre's growth through more than five decades of continuous production.[6] Noel would become the second director of the Globe and play a major role in its development. Under his direction, the Globe would win a Tony award and become the first professional Actors Equity theater on the West Coast. He is also responsible for the founding of the San Diego National Shakespeare Festival during his time at the Globe.[7]

In 1939, Noel was hired as general director. During World War II, the United States 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.

Since 1949, the National Shakespeare Festival has taken place nearly every summer at the Globe in San Diego.[8]

In 1951, the San Diego Junior Theater Wing of the Old Globe began to offer adventurous, youthful plays for children.[9] Many of the students in the Junior Wing would become actors in the company. For example, Victor Buono, who went on to become a film star after his time at the Globe. In 1953, the Junior Theater became a part of the San Diego Park and Recreation Department, having outgrown the Globe.[10]

From 1955 to 1978, Peggy Kellner designed over 200 shows at the Old Globe, including costuming and set design.[11]


The Cassius Carter Centre Stage, a theater in the round, was added in 1969 in what had been the Falstaff Tavern restaurant.[12] It was rebuilt in 2009 as the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre.[13]

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.[14] An outdoor stage was built just for the National Shakespeare Festival to continue. They performed modern spins on Shakespeare, including a 1987 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream that featured an original jazz score.[15] The Globe Theatre was rebuilt and reopened in 1981. In 1984, the festival stage was damaged in an arson attack.[16] 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.

In 1981 Jack O'Brien was hired as artistic director, while Noel became executive producer.[17]

In 1982, Teatro Meta, a bilingual theatre company so-sponsored by the Old Globe, University of California San Diego, and Southwestern College, had its first production.[18] It was founded by Noel and Jorge Huerta. It became independent in 1987.[19]


In 2012, Barry Edelstein was named artistic director.[20] The Globe has grown into an internationally known theatre complex, an "influential powerhouse among regional theatres."[21] In 1984, it received the Tony Award for best regional theatre.

Notable productions

Shows which originated at the Old Globe have gone on to Broadway to win nine Tony Awards and nearly 60 nominations.[22][23]

Year Show Opened on Broadway Notes
1986 Into the Woods 1987 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
2019 Almost Famous 2022
2022 Bob Fosse's Dancin' 2023


  1. ^ a b c "The Old Globe". LA Phil. Retrieved 2022-08-12.
  2. ^ Rabinowitz, Chloe. "Rebecca Creskoff, Joshua Malina & More to Lead World Premiere of WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT ANNE FRANK". Retrieved 2022-08-12.
  3. ^ Staff, La Jolla Light (Dec 23, 2009). "The Old Globe unveils redesigned campus". Chicago Tribune.
  4. ^ "History". Old Globe Theatre. Retrieved 3 August 2017.
  5. ^ "The Old Globe, "80 Years in the Making"". Ranch & Coast. Ranch&Coast. 27 April 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2022.
  6. ^ "History | The Old Globe". Retrieved 2021-09-20.
  7. ^ "History". The Old Globe. Retrieved 8 December 2022.
  8. ^ Hebert, James (13 December 2014). "Old Globe's History Places it Center Stage". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 8 December 2022.
  9. ^ Davies, Darlene Gould; Price, Lizbeth Persons. "Everything Old is New Again: A History of San Diego Junior Theater, 1948-2008" (PDF). San Diego History. Retrieved 8 December 2022.
  10. ^ "The Old Globe, "80 Years in the Making"". Ranch & Coast. Ranch&Coast. 27 April 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2022.
  11. ^ Davies, Darlene G. (28 February 2018). "Muses of the Old Globe". Ranch and Coast. Retrieved 9 December 2022.
  12. ^ Davies, Darlene Gould (August 12, 2022). "Cassius Carter Centre Stage" (PDF).
  13. ^ HEBERT, JAMES (2009-12-06). "Curtain up on new Old Globe". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2022-08-12.
  14. ^ Harper, Hilliard (1988-03-13). "Commentary : In the End, Globe's Arsonists Destroyed Only a Building". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2022-08-12.
  15. ^ "The Old Globe, "80 Years in the Making"". Ranch & Coast. Ranch&Coast. 27 April 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2022.
  16. ^ Herbert, James (2014-12-13). "Old Globe's history places it center stage". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2023-06-12.
  17. ^ Mohr, Beth (Spring 1985). "The Old Globe Theatre: Highlights From Fifty Years". The Journal of San Diego History. 31 (2). Retrieved 2008-05-30.
  18. ^ "First Production by the Teatro Meta" (PDF). UCSD University Archives. Retrieved 9 December 2022.
  19. ^ Harper, Hilliard (7 October 1987). "Bilingual Offshoot of Teatro Meta in the Works". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 9 December 2022.
  20. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Barry Edelstein Named Artistic Director of San Diego's Old Globe". Playbill. Retrieved 9 December 2022.
  21. ^ Weber, Bruce (April 12, 2010). "Craig Noel, a Force in Regional Theater, Dies at 94". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-07-09.
  22. ^ San Diego News Network, April 4, 2010 Archived February 24, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ "Globe to Broadway". The Old Globe. Retrieved 12 November 2018.