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Written by the Bell Team

Shakespeare and the Globe Theatre in London - an introduction to the passive tense

If you’ve ever been taught anything about British culture, you will surely have heard the name William Shakespeare. William Shakespeare was a poet and playwright in the 16th century, and wrote many of the most well known plays performed in Britain today. Romeo & Juliet, Othello and Twelfth Night are just three popular plays that were written by Shakespeare.

If you visit London, you can visit the theatre in which a lot of Shakespeare’s plays were performed. It’s called The Globe Theatre and it’s located on the banks of the river Thames. The Globe was first built in 1576, but had to be rebuilt in 1613 after it caught fire. The fire was caused by a stage cannon, which set fire to the roof of the theatre when it went off, destroying the whole building in less than 2 hours! After having been rebuilt after the fire, the theatre was then demolished in 1644 to make room for tenements.

Many years later a project to rebuild the Globe theatre was initiated by the American actor, director and producer Sam Wanamaker. The new Globe is modelled on the original; printed panoramas, written accounts and one sketch were used to give some idea of what the theatre should look like, but there is no way to know whether it is an accurate copy as nobody knows exactly what the Globe really looked like.

So, if you’re heading into London, why not check out the Globe theatre? You could even watch one of Shakespeare’s plays while you’re at it.

Key Grammar – Passive Voice

The passive voice has many different functions, but it often used to make the active object more important or if the active subject is either not known or not important.

i.e. He was arrested (passive) – we know that he would have been arrested by the police so we don’t need to say it.

Here is the basic structure for the passive voice in the present simple:

ACTIVE

“People call the theatre The Globe.”

Subject [people] + verb [call] + object [the theatre]

PASSIVE

The theatre is called The Globe.

Subject [The theatre] + verb ‘to be’ [is] + past participle [called]

Notice that to change a sentence from the active voice to the passive voice we make the object the subject of our passive sentence.

Have a look again through the text above and see how many examples of the passive voice you can find.

Here’s a tip: There are more than 10!

If you feel inspired to learn English in the UK, discover the range of courses offered at our Cambridge and London schools.

Written by the Bell Team,
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