The Globe Theatre was a large, round and open-air theater made famous by its connection with the playwright William Shakespeare, who owned a 12.5 percent share in the theater. It was built by Richard Burbage in 1599 on the south bank of the River Thames in London. The Globe Theatre lasted 85 years, burning down once, before it was turned into tenement housing after the Puritans suppressed all stage plays.
The theater was built with wood reused from an earlier theater owned by Richard Burbage's father. It burnt down in less than two hours in 1613 when a cannon used for a performance of Shakespeare's play "Henry VIII" lit the thatched roof on fire. No one was hurt, except a man whose burning trousers were put out with beer. It was rebuilt the next year in the same spot. The theater was actually a polygon with 20 sides. It had three stories of seating around the circumference, covered by a roof. The "pit" at the base of the stage held people who only paid a penny to stand and watch the performance. These people were also known as "groundlings." The crest above the main entrance contained a Latin phrase meaning, "The whole world is a playhouse." Color-coded flags outside the theater were used to advertise the type of play.