We want to save the GLOBE

The GLOBE initiative grew out of a meeting of local residents who wanted to breathe new life into this cultural and historical treasure. The aim is both to preserve it as a historical monument and create a cultural venue for Oldenburg and the surrounding areas.

A new dawn is coming for the GLOBE as a cultural venue for cinema, theatre, festivals and much, much more. Aside from these events, there are plans for catering facilities, rehearsal space for musicians, theatre and dance groups as well as renting the rooms out for private functions.

The target is first to buy and then restore and refurbish the building.

To this end the "Kulturgenossenschaft GLOBE" (GLOBE Theatre and Cinema Trust ) was founded on 12 April 2017. The Trust’s constitution can be found on this site in German. The trust board consists of Dr. Nicola Haßold-Piezunka, Elisabeth von Wedel and Olaf Hibbeler. The supervisory board has three members, Jens Piezunka (musician), Hermann Möhlenkamp (architect) und Johannes Lameyer (lawyer). The Kulturgenossenschaft GLOBE has been registered since August 2017 and has been granted charitable status by the tax authorities.
The purchase, refurbishing and restoration of the building in line with historical building regulations will cost approximately 1.5 million euros. The first target of 240 000 euros for the acquisition was already passed at the end of 2017 (from members’ shares) while a further 110 000 euros are needed for the urgent repair of the roof. More funding is being actively sought from grants, sponsors, donations and crowdfunding.

On June 25th 2018 the Trust bought the GLOBE.

History of the Globe
The GLOBE is a former military theatre which could also serve as a cinema. It was built by the British Army on the site of the Oldenburg-Donnerschwee barracks in 1954. The theatre has an auditorium which can seat 404 and is equipped with a fly loft, orchestra pit, cinema screen and a projection room which are all original. However, years of disuse and neglect have taken their toll on the fabric of the building. The German Army (Bundeswehr) abandoned the site in 1991 and it remained deserted until redevelopment of the area began in 2015.
It seems that the British Army built and operated cinemas for the troops as a matter of course. After the Second World War, the Army Kinema Corporation (AKC) was founded with the purpose of running the British Army’s troop cinemas. The headquarters of the AKC were in the Kingsley Barracks in Minden from where it operated 25 cinemas, most of which were also called the Globe and constructed to a more or less standard design. Today, nearly all of these former troop cinemas, built between 1947 and 1957, are either derelict or have been demolished, redeveloped or closed for reasons of safety. Apart from the Oldenburg Globe, two other Globes have survived, one in the northern Rühr region and the other in Todendorf. They are, however, in substantially worse condition and it is unlikely that they can be saved.

After the withdrawal of the British Army, many of the troop cinemas passed into the hands of the newly-founded Bundeswehr and were operated by commercial cinema owners or film distributors. Such was the case in Oldenburg, where the local film distributor, Bruno Sabrowski, supplied films to both the GLOBE and the cinema at the Fliegerhorst, the local military airfield.

Following redevelopment of the Donnerschwee site to a residential quarter, there are now 850 apartments in the former barrack buildings, most of which have listed building status. The aim is to preserve the GLOBE as a cultural centre for the local community as well as for residents of Oldenburg and the surrounding areas.

In June 2018 the British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) visited the GLOBE and made a short feature about it which is worth watching!

Oldenburg GLOBE on the Radio

Together with former BBC newsreader and TV news producer Barrie Redfern, John Goodyear, who is currently doing research on the GLOBE's history, created, edited and produced this radio package on The Globe in Oldenburg.

A cultural home away from home

Oldenburg GLOBE: A cultural home away from home

This research project by Dr. John Goodyear aims to write the Anglo-German cultural history of the Globe Theatre and Cinema in Oldenburg, Germany as part of the broader effort of the Kulturgenossenschaft Globe e.G (GLOBE Theatre and Cinema Trust) “to preserve [the Globe] as a historical monument and create a cultural venue for Oldenburg and the surrounding areas”. (see also "Forschung" - German only)

Drawing on the fields of Anglo-German cultural, architectural and military history, it puts forward the thesis of the Globe as a “cultural home away from home”, built by the British army to inform, enlighten and entertain, but also a tool to satisfy the very British needs of troops stationed at the Donnerschwee barracks in Oldenburg. The project is centred around three core research questions addressing this thesis:

  • How and for what purpose(s) did the British military build a cultural home away from home for serving soldiers on the barracks in Oldenburg?
  • What role did the Globe theatre play in the broader cultural experience of British-stationed troops and the local Oldenburg population?
  • To what extent did barrack cultural life overlap or interact with the cultural life of Oldenburgers during the time of occupation?

Answers to these questions shall shed light on the motivations that underpinned the construction of such a cultural centre as well as the cultural interactions that became synonymous with it. These insights can do much to unlock the cultural past of the building for the Trust and its stakeholders. Moreover, the research project provides a valuable contribution to the interdisciplinary field of Anglo-German cultural studies in that it has the potential to affect how the Globe is used going forward in the future.

Biography Dr. John Goodyear

John Goodyear is a leading Anglo-German intercultural practitioner. After completing a BSc and MA in German at Aston University, he graduated from Queen Mary, University of London with a PhD in German cultural studies. His doctorate explored German acoustic environments at the turn of the nineteenth into the twentieth century—a topic that would bring him to Oldenburg where he has lived and worked since 2010. Becoming a familiar face in the city, John worked in a variety of educational settings, including at the Academy of English, the BBS Wechloy and the Jade Hochschule. Currently based in the School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music at the University of Birmingham as a German Teaching Fellow, he is researching the Anglo-German cultural history of Oldenburg’s Globe Theatre, leading to a book publication in 2019/20.

Contact: https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/staff/profiles/german/goodyear-john.aspx