The theatre in shakespeare s time
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The Theatre in Shakespeare’s time. ENG1D1. The first proper theater opened in 1567 – “The Red Lion” Most plays were performed in a courtyard before this Majority of theaters could fit a few hundred people The Globe Theater was built in 1599, and could house about 3000 spectators. . origins.

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  • Acting was seen as a disgraceful profession Lion”

  • Puritan authorities felt that actors distracted people from their religious duties

  • The Puritans were incredibly religious, and demanded people show more discipline and self control

  • Having “fun” was considered wicked

  • Theatre companies often travelled to other cities – could be robbed on the way, or denied entry into the city


How was the theater different from today

  • The audience resembled a modern day sports arena. Lion”

  • Rowdy crowds! The audience talked, drank, and ate during performances. They would yell at the bad characters and cheer for the good ones.

  • Theaters had open roofs – no electricity, so they used natural light.

  • Female characters were always played by pre-pubescent young boys

  • Little scenery and few props were used. People used their imagination instead!

How was the theater different from today?


  • The pricing varied, but was typically as follows: Lion”

  • Entry into the pit: 1 shilling (“groundlings”) – you would stand for the whole play

  • Food and beverage: 1-2 shillings

  • Sitting a level up: 1 shilling (per level)

  • Cushion for your chair: 1 shilling

  • In short: the more $$ you had, the more comfortable you would be! Is it any different today?



  • The “groundlings” were lower class commoners – did not have much money.

  • Anyone who had money would at least have a seat. To be in the pit was considered shameful.

  • Wealthy people could also meet the actors backstage in some cases.

  • Shakespeare used a combination of low and high comedy.

  • High Comedy: Appealed to higher class citizens. Used satire, clever dialogue, etc.

  • Low Comedy: Appealed to lower class citizens. Used slapstick, physical comedy, etc.

  • Why? Appeal to as many people as possible!




The globe theater
The globe theater performance.

Theater closures

Theater closures


  • Puritan authorities took over in 1642. bubonic plague.

  • Outlawed plays and demolished the Globe Theater in 1644.

  • All actors were seized and whipped, and anyone caught attending a play was fined.

  • The Puritans eventually lost power and favour, and plays were back by 1660.


Other entertainment

  • Cockfights bubonic plague.

  • A fight between two roosters – it would sometimes end in death.

  • Incredibly popular

Other entertainment


  • Bear Baiting bubonic plague.

  • Tying a bear to a post and having dogs attack it

  • Would usually last for 3 “rounds”

  • Even Queen Elizabeth loved attending bear baiting events