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The company has raised most of the 7.5 million pound ($12 million) cost of the new venue from individuals and charitable trusts.

Shakespeare's Globe opened amid skepticism _ some thought it would be a kitschy tourist trap. It turned out to be a huge success, drawing 1 million visitors a year and winning over audiences and critics with productions that use staging techniques of the past to shed new light on old plays.

The company’s all-male productions of “Richard III” and “Twelfth Night” starring former Globe artistic director Mark Rylance opened this month to glowing reviews in London’s West End after a summer run at the Globe.

Dromgoole said the new space would expand the company’s repertoire to include works by Jacobean dramatists who followed Shakespeare, such as Thomas Middleton and John Webster.

What it will reveal about those plays is, for now, a mystery.

“We’re doing it as an experiment,” Dromgoole said. “We’re doing it as a leap into the unknown.”



Jill Lawless can be reached at