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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
  • 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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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. 
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.  
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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).

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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.