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Shakespeare’s Theater. Shakespeare’s Theater. Shakespeare wrote plays for the acting company called “The Lord Chamberlain’s Men.” The company was first based in a playhouse in London called “The Theatre.” Later, around 1599, the compnay moved to “The Globe” theater. Shakespeare’s Theater.

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Shakespeare’s Theater

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Shakespeare’s Theater


Shakespeare’s Theater

  • Shakespeare wrote plays for the acting company called “The Lord Chamberlain’s Men.”

  • The company was first based in a playhouse in London called “The Theatre.”

  • Later, around 1599, the compnay moved to “The Globe” theater.


Shakespeare’s Theater

  • Shakespeare’s name also appears as one of the owners of “The Globe” theatre in 1599.

  • Shakespeare was also an actor.

  • Recent research shows that around 1594, he performed before Queen Elizabeth I.


Shakespeare’s Theater

  • Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet early in his career, around 1593-94.

  • The play was first performed at “The Theatre” playhouse in the winter of 1594, when the playhouses re-opened after an outbreak of the plague.


Shakespeare’s Theater

  • “The Theatre” could hold 1500 people.

  • It was a large, octagonal-shaped building with an open air yard in the middle, and a thatched roof covering its sides.


Shakespeare’s Theater

  • Most of the audience paid a penny to stand in the yard below the stage.

  • These people were called “groundlings.”

  • Wealthier theater goers paid extra to sit in the gallery where they could be more comfortable and be seen by others in the audience.


Shakespeare’s Theater

At the Globe, members of the audience had to put one penny in a box by the door to stand on the ground in front of the stage (the “Pit) to watch the play.


Shakespeare’s Theater

  • To sit in the first gallery, people would put a penny in a second box, held by a collector at the first flight of stairs.

  • To sit in the second gallery, people would put a penny in a third box, held by a collector at the second flight of stairs. .

  • After the show started, the collectors took their boxes to a room backstage – the “box office” – to count all of the money collected.


Shakespeare’s Theater

  • Theatre performances were held in the afternoon, because, of course, there was no artificial (indoor) lighting.

  • Men and women attended plays, but often prosperous women would wear masks to disguise their identities.

  • The plays were extremely popular and attracted vast audiences to the Globe.


Shakespeare’s Theater

  • Days out at the Globe Theater were an exciting event.

  • The grounds surrounding the Globe Theater  were bustling with people.

  • There would be people in “stalls” selling merchandise and refreshments, creating a “market day” atmosphere.


Shakespeare’s Theater

  • Non-playgoers would flock to the Globe Theater to go to the market stalls and “soak in” the holiday-like atmosphere.

  • The Globe would particularly attract young people, and there were many complaints of apprentices avoiding work in order to go to the theater.

  • A trumpet was sounded to signal to people that the play was about to begin, so that people would go inside to take their places.


Shakespeare’s Theater

  • Above the Globe was a small tower with a flag pole.

  • Flags were used as a form of Elizabethan advertising!

  • Flags were flown on the day of the performance, and sometimes displayed a picture advertising the next play to be performed.

  • Color coding was also used - a black flag meant a tragedy , a white flag, a comedy, and a red flag, a history. 


Shakespeare’s Theater

  • The “Globe” held a large audience – about 2,000 – 3,-000 people.

  • The theater also allowed stage productions to become quite sophisticated with the use of massive props, such as cannons.


  • Special effects at the Globe were also a spectacular addition to the theater:

  • For smoke effects, the firing of a real canon; for dramatic battle scenes/ fireworks

  • Spectacular 'flying' entrances from the rigging in the 'heavens'

  • The stage floor had trap-doors allowing for additional surprising incidents.

  • Music was another addition to the Globe productions.


Shakespeare’s Theater


Shakespeare’s Theater


Shakespeare’s Theater


Shakespeare’s Theater

  • The period during which Shakespeare wrote was called the “Renaissance,” which means “rebirth.”

  • There was a renewed interest in the arts, in science, and in other cultures throughout Europe.

  • In England, Queen Elizabeth I supported the arts and artists.


Shakespeare’s Theater

  • Many English writers, including Shakespeare, examined Italian culture.

  • Shakespeare used a translation of an Italian story as the inspiration for Romeo and Juliet.


Shakespeare’s Theater

  • The Globe was only in use until 1613, when, on June 29, a fire broke out there.

  • The canon used for special effects was loaded with gunpowder and wadding, and was fired. The thatched roof caught on fire and the Globe Theatre burned to the ground.

  • It is not known whether there were any casualties but this must have caused a panic.  


Shakespeare’s Theater

  • In 1614 the Globe Theatre was rebuilt (referred to as Globe 2). 

  • In 1642, under the force of the Puritans, the English Parliament issued an ordinance suppressing all stage plays in the theatres.

    Note: The Puritans were a religious faction and the term came into general usage at the end of the reign of Queen Mary I (Bloody Mary).


Shakespeare’s Theater

  • This strict religious view spread to encompass many social activities within England, moving to a stricter code of conduct which deplored any kind of finery or “flippant behaviors.”

  • In 1644, the Globe Theatre was demolished by the Puritans.

  • The site of the old Globe theatre was rediscovered in the 20th century and a reconstruction of a New Globe Theatre has been built near the spot of the original. 


Shakespeare’s Theater


Shakespeare’s Theater


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