Elizabethan theatres Elizabethan theatres did not exist until 1576, they were not called theatres in 1576 they were called inn-yards this was because the performances would have been shown in courtyards of inns. For example show below. The first theatre ever built was by a man called James Burbage in 1576 but it was his step-brother that apparently called the first “inn-yard” a theatre. Elizabethan theatres were also used for bear baiting, gambling and for immoral purposes. However they did used to attract on average 3000 people to each performance.
Globe theatre The globe theatre is probably the most famous Elizabethan theatre that was ever built. The structure and design of the globe theatre was done to replicate the coliseum in Rome. The globe theatre was started to be built in 1597 and was finished by 1598 by Peter Smith and his workforce. Shakespeare actually had two globe theatres built one in replica to the the first with a similar design again to the coliseum in Rome but to a smaller scale.
Comparisons. The inside schematics for the old globe theatre. The coliseum can you see the resemblance between them. What the globe theatre looks like now.
Theatres dry patches In 1596 there was a growing set of complaints from the churches and city of London officials. This was due to the rise in crime that occurred when the theatres began. This was because people would take plays with violence or drinking in would encourage people to do the same and lead to an increase in crime. They also closed the theatres in London due to the spreading of the bubonic plague which was passed around a lot in theatres especially London. This lead to all of the theatres being moved to the south of the river themes where they were not banned.
Types of theatres. When theatres first began there were inn-yards theatres which would normally attract around 500 people. This was followed by the population of performances and lead to open air amphitheatres such as the globe which contained 1500 to 3000 people. There was also indoor playhouses performances for the more well off as they were aimed at the more upper class audiences and cost more to get into.
Elizabethan actors Elizabethan acting was very strange because they would only use men to act because they believed that the stage was no place for woman to be. Famous actors in the Elizabethan eras were people like William Shakespeare who although was a play writer starred in a lot of his own productions. Also the likes of Richard Burbage and john Lowin.
Elizabethan actors Elizabethan actors were not to popular within society was they were seen as vagabonds and rogue. This lead to many actors not being trusted and being given credentials which had to be repeated to not raise suspicion, however were still treated with a high level of suspicion. All the plays that were performed in Elizabethan theatres were not allowed to contain any thing to related to religion or anything political to the state so many performances were often quite bawdy and the crowd would have been very rowdy towards the performances.
Elizabethan actors However the lifestyles of Elizabethan actors was greatly popular as they were seen as the superstars of their day and they would have been well known by nobility and they often performed before royalty in a theatre they were that popular. This shows a massive contradiction in the way actors were treated, as they were not trusted but they were also very famous and popular.
Acting with in Amphitheatres When arenas were built such as the globe theatre they were related to places like the coliseum and were accepted because they showed Greek and Roman plays which were highly popular. The theatres attracted a lot of money and big audiences this was due to the special effects that were used within the theatres. However the theatres were often open topped and would be accustom to the weather and actors would have trouble in the winter with the weather.
Special effects Special effects in Elizabethan theatres were not as they are today with smoke and lighting. They were very limited, but would have things like people flying onto stage tied with ropes to glide them onto the stage, there was trapdoors for very dramatic entrances and exits for the audiences to remain amused.
Sickening to think Elizabethan theatres were very different because the actors would not have a lot of time to rehearse plays if any because the plays would be in such high demand. There was also a lot of problems with plague as it would often be spread at Elizabethan performances, when this occurred theatres were often closed down and actors would leave the town to escape them catching the plague.
What lead you to that idea? In Elizabethan theatre as earlier mentioned men were only allowed to perform in theatres this was until 1660 when women won the right to perform in theatres. However until then a lot of female characters were played by young boys who were forced to wear a white make up which actually contained lead and often caused lead poisoning killing a lot of the actors. They also were of very poor health and often had a lot of skin diseases which was all caused by the white make up they were forced to wear.
Rags to Riches Elizabethan actors were given special permission to wear designer clothes which was against the law for peasants to wear designer clothes as they believed nice clothes should only be seen from a distance by nobles or royalty. The costumes were quite often bright and colorful designs and were made of very expensive materials such as silk or suede. This increased popularity of performances as they would also be used as Elizabethan fashion shows.
Smarter than Now? The audiences in Elizabethan era would always understand the meaning behind the color and performer was wearing something that is not very well known by audiences of the modern day performances. Every color and material of a costume had its own meaning which was understood by audiences in Elizabethan era meaning the audiences would be able to tell a lot about the character from what they were wearing as soon as they entered the stage.