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In 2006, the stage of the Old Globe Theatre was named the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage, in honor of a $20 million capital and endowment campaign commitment from the Shileys, who have been friends and supporters of The Old Globe for more than three decades.
Modeled after Shakespeare’s Old Globe in London, the Old Globe Theatre was built in 1935 to present abridged versions of Shakespeare’s plays as part of the California Pacific International Exposition. At the conclusion of the exposition in 1937, a non-profit production corporation, the San Diego Community Theatre, leased the theatre and adjacent building from the City of San Diego (an arrangement that continues today) and renovated the theatre for ongoing use.
On December 2, 1937, the remodeled Old Globe Theatre opened with a production of John Van Druten’s 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 productions, and whose role as Artistic Director continues to this day.
On March 8, 1978, an arson fire destroyed the landmark theatre. Fortunately, the administrative offices, rehearsal hall, dressing rooms, scenery and costume shops, and the Cassius Carter Centre Stage were spared from the flames. In 1982, the new 580 seat in The Old Globe opened with a production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It.
Today, the Old Globe Theatre is the flagship venue for the organization, where several world premieres, such as Into the Woods, Play On!, The Full Monty and Imaginary Friends have been staged, and have then gone on to enjoy successful runs on Broadway.
The Old Globe's Artistic Director Emeritus Jack O’Brien says of the Old Globe Theatre, "I love the generosity of this theatre space, its fluid design, its perfect sight-lines, its great acoustics. If theatre in San Diego has a cradle, The Old Globe is it."