Globe Theatre

Washington & Essex Streets / Boston

Globe Theatre - 1871

1871 poster and illustrations for Oliver Twist (courtesy of Brian Sevedge

The first Globe Theatre opened in Boston in 1871 on Washington Street, near the corner of Essex Street,
occupying the former theatre of John H. Selwyn. Following a fire in May 1873 (the tragedy of many a 19th
century theatre lit by gaslight) the new Globe opened on the same site in December 1874.


(L) map of Boston showing location of Globe Theatre - (R) seating chart

Architect B.F. Dwight designed the new building, and from 1877-1893 John Stetson served as manager.
The theatre lasted 20 years, burning down in January 1894:


The New York Times / January 2, 1894



Boston, Jan. 2. -- 2:15 A. M. -- At 1:15 this morning an explosion of gas caused a fire in the Globe Theatre on Washington Street, between Essex Street and Hayward Place. The fire started near the scene room, and spread rapidly through the building. Hanlom Brothers "Superba" was occupying the house, and the properties were saved with great difficulty.

The flames soon spread to the Globe Cafe, on Hayward Place, owned by H. Brock, and to the upper portion of a new building corner of Washington Street and Hayward Place, owned by the Harvard College Trustees and occupied by Miller & Co., printers; the Free Employment Bureau, and George Kaffer, window shades, &c.

The fire is not yet under control. The Globe Theatre will undoubtedly prove a total loss.

The Globe Theatre was first called Selwyn's Theatre, and was built about 1867 by the Boston Amusement Company, by Dexter H. Follet, as a rival to the famous Museum. Under the management of John Selwyn, who had been a scene painter and actor, a fine stock company was maintained. After his death the house was renamed the Globe and was managed for a number of years by Arthur Cheney, one of the original owners. After Mr. Cheney gave up the house in 1877 John Stetson took the lease for a year, and this was renewed in 1878. He has since managed the house successfully.

The Globe was a fine theatre, with many recent improvements. Many of the most popular stars and combinations played there. Its seating capacity was 2,200 larger than that of any other house in Boston except the enormous Boston Theatre.


Globe Theatre - 1886

Programs available onsite from this theatre:


  • Erminie (1887)

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