The Globe of the Great Southwest is located on the Odessa College Campus in Odessa. It is reputed to be the most authentic permanent replica of the original Globe Theater built in 1598 on the Thames River in London, England, for William Shakespeare's acting company. Its stage is a facsimile of Shakespeare's Globe stage and provides six acting areas.
The idea of the reconstruction of a Shakespearean theater in Odessa originated in 1948 in Marjorie Morris's senior English class. Building the replica was adopted as a project of the Odessa High School Shakespeare Club; donations were solicited, and a local architect, J. Ellsworth Powell, drew the blueprints without remuneration and pledged supervision of the construction. Morris returned to school, wrote her thesis on the proposed theater, studied in England, and received her master's degree in English from North Texas State College (now the University of North Texas) in 1950. She began to teach at Odessa College in 1951. That year the Odessa College regents donated land on the campus on which to build the theater, a nonprofit organization was chartered, and fund-raising began. The Globe was constructed as money could be raised, largely through Morris's personal efforts. Groundbreaking ceremonies were held on March 7, 1958; the main structure was completed in 1961; and the theater was dedicated in May 1964. Full-time theater activity began in the fall of 1968. The first director was Charles David McCally.
The octagonal theater seats 410. Because of its shape and building materials, primarily wood and plaster, it has excellent acoustics. It was fireproofed, and modern plumbing, heating, air-conditioning, artificial lights, red carpeting, and plush red opera chairs have augmented the original design. The court is trimmed with stone from five Southwestern states.
The Juliet Society, a volunteer organization for the benefit of the Globe, was founded in August 1975 to stimulate interest and provide volunteer workers. The theater building is used for the annual Odessa Shakespeare Festival, productions of classical and contemporary drama, and various other cultural events ranging from ballet and chamber music to the Odessa Brand New Opree, a country and western revue. Adjacent to the theater is a replica of Shakespeare's wife's home, which houses a Shakespearean library, archives, a small performance area, and a meetingplace. It opened to the public in the fall of 1989. The Odessa Globe has been featured in Life magazine.