Creative Writing Assignment: a Groundlings Day

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I woke up to the smell of a simple breakfast, the cook fire was just starting, and my shrewish wife was working away in the kitchen.

Today was going to be a good day. The red flag went up yesterday at the Globe Theatre, so I was planning to go see a history performance. It should be good, I haven’t been in a while and I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to go.

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“Breakfast’s ready!” Anne shouted. I got up of the floor where I slept and slowly made my way to the table. A beer was already waiting for me, maybe Anne isn’t so shrewish I thought as I drank.

Breakfast was the same, old leftovers from last night with some butter and bread. The meat was cold and tough, and the bread was stale, the only thing that was as it should be was the beer. And that’s all anybody drinks these days, mainly since the water’s so polluted.

About an hour after breakfast I started making my way over to the Globe Theatre, it wasn’t close seeing as it had to be outside the city. And it was on the opposite side of London to me.

As I was walking through inner London towards the bridge that goes across the Thames I could start seeing other people making their way to the theatre.

I came close to the theatre and remembered how big it actually was. I was told it was big with a clever design so that everyone could see the stage and so that sunlight could come through. It was in a sort of polygon shape and there was beams of wood and lots of plaster covering the outside.

I came up to the entrance and paid them my penny, that’s what was really good about the Globe, its affordable.

As I walked through a corridor I saw my fellow labourer William strolling casually in front of me. “William!” I shouted while not trying to draw attention to myself.

“Morning Thomas, how art thee?” William asked as he made his way back to me.

“Quaint valorous grant thee mercy, yourself?” I replied. “Not too well actually, family’s fallen to illness. And we’ve been putteth into poverty” he said disappointingly, “this theatre is mine only escape from mine wretched life”.

“Isn’t t for us all” I sighed as we tried to get a good spot to stand in the pit, “thee still enjoy the history playeth I see?”.

“Aye, tis valorous to chuckle once in a while, coequal at which hour theres blood” he tittered.

“Thee hath said it” I agreed.

It was starting to get uncomfortably squishy as more people stacked in. Some yeomanry were trying to move people with the excuse that they were higher up in class than them. Which they were, they were above us labourers but below the Gentry, they were sort of in the middle of our social hierarchy. They came over to us and one of them exclaimed “get thee hence of mine way, thee disgusting peasants”. I knew we couldn’t so I replied “sure, but next time thee don’t needeth to beest so rude about it”. Will and I gave them our spot and found another spot to stand in the midst of the crowd.

I could still see nobles and gentry in the higher levels getting comfortable and some pale women fixing their hair.

A sudden quick hush came over the audience as the curtains were drawn open. The actors came out, and I could tell from the first line that it was All Is True, a play on King Henry VIII. The play was so interesting and there was a lot of gore, which I didn’t mind. William and I ate hazelnuts as we watched and occasionally threw the shells at the actors.

There were a few gasps as they rolled several cannons out, king Henry entered and a cannon fire a blank, its sound boomed throughout the theatre. They loaded another and fired it. But this time something seemed wrong, it didn’t sound the same, it sounded broken whether the last time it was a solid boom.

All of a sudden someone yelled out “The roof! Tis on fire!”. Every head in the theatre pointed upwards as one and searched for the cause of commotion. A part of the roof, the thatching, was on fire! All of the pale ladies screamed, and some grabbed their husbands. The fire was spreading quickly, and people started running towards the exit.

I started moving with everyone and was three quarters through the pit till I heard William call, “Thomas thee clotpole, wait for me!”.

“That blasted fusty fool” I mumbled as I made my way back again.

I caught sight him on the ground as people ran over him, he must have tripped and knowing Will, he probably did. It was much harder to go back than it was to go forwards, but I managed to get people back into their senses to go around him not on him.

I got to him and yanked him to his feet, we started running and I glimpsed up to see the entire roof now on fire! Small beams of wood were started to fall down dangerously close to us. We couldn’t speed up as everyone was trying to funnel into exit corridor.

Just as I noticed that the nobles and gentry were nowhere to be seen. A piece of thatching fell from the roof and hit Will on his leg. His breeches caught on fire and he started panicking, he rolled around, and I tried to pat it out with my shirt but with no avail. Will then grabbed an abandoned bottle of ale and splashed it on breeches and with a hiss the flames went out. His panicked face changed to relief as the last flame went out. I then grabbed him shouting “We art not out yet” over the noise of crackling wood and shouts from people throughout the theatre.

As we made our way to the exit through the corridor the last people were squizzing out as the walls around us were catching on fire. I caught sight of a little girl sobbing against a wall holding a grazed knee. “Grab the poor wench wilt thee!” I exclaimed to a couple of people close to her.

Finally, we rushed out just after the girl, into the open night with clean fresh air. We were outside with everyone else as we watched in horror our beloved escape from our wretched lives, the Globe, burn to the ground.

It was burnt all down in less than two hours but luckily no one was seriously hurt, not even Will. I was glad to know that I would be heading back home to a worried but soon glad wife.


My short story represents Elizabethan times by having actual events that happened in those times and a character from those times. It is a story about a labourer (the lowest of the Elizabethan social hierarchy) that went to the Globe Theatre and ended up being involved with a fire and a man who had his breeches catch alight (it actually happened). There is a lot of culture and history from Elizabethan times involved in this story; left overs were usually eaten for breakfast, the theatre flags (red meant history) and the social classes (Yeomanry, Gentry, Nobles and Labourers)

In the short story I used a lot of literary techniques. I mainly used imagery throughout the story and characterisation. Imagery had I big effect on the story for describing the theatre and what’s going on around him, “I could see nobles and gentry in the higher levels getting comfortable and some pale women fixing their hair”. I also used characterisation, mainly with Tom and Will but also with Anne. I sometimes described the characters directly but mainly indirectly by thoughts, actions and speech. “I came up to the entrance and paid them my penny, that’s what was really good about the Globe, its affordable”, this quote shows Toms recognition and appreciation for good things. Characterisation and imagery was very useful in this story.

My Illustrations enhanced the meaning of my story by adding to the imagery and letting the reader actually see what the character (Tom) is seeing. In three of the most key moments in the story you get to see what its like for everybody in the story, the scale of it, everything that’s happening and what everything looks like. These pictures show how amazing everything was, the actual theatre, the play and stage and the fire.

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