Theatres of Elizabethan England Elijah Mathews Period 6

Thesis: "Theatres during the Elizabethan era contributed and inspired 16th century England greatly. Such as the Globe theatre housing many of Shakespeare's plays, introducing theatre to those and popularizing it."

Notecards

Acting Companies

Quote:

"Acting companies consisted of only men and boys because women did not perform on the Elizabethan stage. A typical acting company had 8 to 12 sharers, a number of salaried workers, and apprentices. The sharers were the company's leading actors as well as its stockholders. They had charge of the company's business activities. They bought plays and costumes, rented theaters, paid fees, and split the profits. The salaried workers, who were called hirelings, took minor roles in the plays, performed the music, served as prompters, and did various odd jobs. The apprentices were boys who played the roles of women and children.

The acting companies operated under the sponsorship either of a member of the royal family or of an important noble. Most sponsorships were in name only and did not include financial support. From 1594 to 1603, Shakespeare's company was sponsored, in turn, by the first and second Lord Hunsdon, a father and son. The first Lord Hunsdon held the important court position of lord chamberlain until he died in 1596. In 1597, his son became lord chamberlain. Thus from 1594 to 1603, Shakespeare's company was mostly known as the Lord Chamberlain's Men. After James I became king of England in 1603, he singled out the company for royal favor. It was then known as the King's Men(Bellinger)."

Paraphrase:

There were many acting companies around during the height of the popularity of theater and many of them competed for audience and recognition.

My Ideas:

Acting companies were the ones who brought the audiences to the theatres for their plays, the more popular the company and play, the bigger the audience. Thus making theatre well known across England.

History

Audience

Quote:

"To the Globe Theatre came a cross section of London society, ranging from apprentices skipping work to members of the nobility passing the time. But most of the Globe’s audience consisted of prosperous citizens, such as merchants, craftworkers, and their wives, and members of the upper class. The theaters of London were an attraction, and visitors to the city were often part of the audience(Lander)."

Paraphrase:

Many people attended theatres in London, specifically the Globe theatre. Most would be seated on the ground while the wealthier would be in the stands above.

My Ideas:

The audience of the theatres served a big part in the plays as determining the quality and outcome of plays. With growing audiences, theatres were now recognized for housing the many popular plays by citizens of England with news spreading around.

History:

Costume and Sound effects

Quote:

"Costumes and sound effects. The absence of scenery did not result in dull or drab productions. Acting companies spent much money on colorful costumes, largely to produce visual splendor. Flashing swords and swirling banners also added color and excitement. Sound effects had an important part in Elizabethan drama. Trumpet blasts and drum rolls were common. Sometimes unusual sounds were created, such as "the noise of a sea-fight" called for in Antony and Cleopatra. Music also played a vital role. Shakespeare filled Twelfth Night with songs. In Antony and Cleopatra, the playwright included mysterious-sounding chords to set the mood before a fatal battle(Lander)."

Paraphrase:

The theaters were equipped with costumes for actors in plays and also had instruments for sound effects.

My Ideas:

Costumes were important for plays because they helped distinguish which actor was playing as which character and made them stand out more. These costumes were specially tailored were only seen in use of plays.

History:

Early Theaters

Quote:

"By the late 1500’s, Elizabethan plays were being performed in two kinds of theater buildings—later called public and private theaters. Public theaters were larger than private ones and held at least 2,500 people. They were built around a courtyard that had no roof. Public theaters gave performances only during daylight hours because they had no artificial lights. Private theaters were smaller, roofed structures. They had candlelight for evening performances. Private theaters charged higher prices and were designed to attract a higher-class audience. The King’s Men only acquired an indoor theater, the Blackfriars, in 1608 and began to perform there in 1609(Anderson)."

Paraphrase:

The first successful theater in England was built in 1576 by arcitect James Burbage.

My Ideas:

These early theatres were the ones that were home of some of the first written plays and got across the word of upcoming plays. With these early theatres gaining popularity, people would travel long lengths to come and see plays. When more theatres started being opened, more people would go to them as they were closer.

History:

Elizabethan Theater

Quote:

"In 1576, James Burbage built England’s first successful public theater, called simply The Theatre. It stood in a suburb north of London, outside the strict supervision of London government authorities. Soon other public theaters were built in the London suburbs. These theaters included the Curtain, the Rose, and the Swan. In 1599, Shakespeare and his associates built the Globe Theatre. Detailed evidence of how the Elizabethan public theaters looked is limited. But scholars have been able to reconstruct the general characteristics of a typical public theater(Mabillard)."

Paraphrase:

The first successful theater was built in 1576 by architect James Burbage, boosting the popularity of theater and plays.

My Ideas:

This theatre was one of the most successful theatres in London. Like the Globe theatre, it was also host to many well known and popular plays that grouped in hundreds of people in audience by either advertisement or word of mouth.

History:

Playwrights

Quote:

"Shakespeare was unusual among Elizabethan playwrights. He not only wrote exclusively for his own company but also served as an actor and sharer in it. The close association between Shakespeare, his fellow actors, and the conditions of production had enormous influence on his dramas. Shakespeare wrote most of his plays with a particular theater building in mind and for performers whom he knew well. Each major actor in the company specialized in a certain type of role. For example, one played the leading tragic characters, and another the main comic characters. Still another actor played old men. Shakespeare wrote his plays to suit the talents of specific performers. He knew when he created a Hamlet, Othello, or King Lear that the character would be interpreted by Richard Burbage, the company’s leading tragic actor(Bellinger)."

Paraphrase:

Playwrights were the people who created, wrote and mapped the play scripts and stories.

My Ideas:

The playwrights were the ones who wrote and assembled the plays and scripts. There were many influential playwrights who left a huge impact on plays and writing overall such as William Shakespeare.

History:

The First Theatre

Quote:

"The Theatre was the first London playhouse, built in 1576 by the English actor and entrepreneur James Burbage, father of the great actor and friend of Shakespeare, Richard Burbage. It was located in a northern suburb of London (north of London Wall which bounded the city proper); on the edge of Finsbury Fields, just past Bishopsgate Street, where Shakespeare called home up to 1597. There are no images of the Theatre, but written accounts of the building describe a vast, polygonal, three-story timber structure, open to the sun and rain. Its exterior was coated with lime and plaster. It had features similar to those of the future Globe playhouse and other playhouses of the day, such as galleries, upper rooms, a tiring house, and trap doors in the stage floor. Like the Globe, the Theatre had two external staircases, standing on either side of the building, and leading up to the galleries. Those people who watched from the main "yard" surrounded by the comfortable covered galleries, were forced to stand during the entire performance. The Theatre was home to many acting companies, but was used primarily by Shakespeare's acting troupe, the Chamberlain's Men, after 1594. Unfortunately, the Theatre fell victim to government censorship, due to the production of Thomas Nashe's "seditious" play Isle of Dogs that prompted all of the London theatres to be closed for the summer of 1597. The Theatre did not reopen, and was dismantled by the carpenter Peter Street in 1598, forcing the Chamberlain's Men to find another home(Mabillard)."

Paraphrase:

The first theatre in London was built in 1576 by an English actor and entrepreneur named James Burbage only lasting till 1598 due to dismantlement.

My Ideas:

The first theatre was the one that sparked off the popularity of plays all throughout London. As this theatre's audience was growing larger, more theatres were ordered to be constructed so there wouldn't be an overflow of people at plays.

History:

The Globe Theatre

Quote:

"The structure of the Globe Theatre is a complex. Not one inside picture of the old Globe is in existence, however, a picture of another amphitheatre, the Swan, has survived. The following picture of the Swan by Johannes de Witt, a Dutch traveller, who visited the Swan is dated between 1596-1598. The picture was accompanied by what is probably the single most important source of our knowledge of the internal layout and structure of the Globe theatre. It consists of a diary note together with a sketch of the internal layout of the Swan Theatre .The Elizabethan amphitheatres were similar in design to the Globe Theatre, so the picture of the Swan can be used a good guide to the structure and layout of the amphitheatres including the old Globe. We have also included a modern representation of the interior of the Globe(Mabillard)."

Paraphrase:

The Globe theatre was the most famous and well known theatre in London for being one of the most complex and decorated theatres and also hosting most of William Shakespeare's plays.

My Ideas:

The Globe theatre was one of London's most popular and famous theatres and housed many famous plays such as Shakespeare's plays. As Shakespeare's plays were extremely popular, the theatres that housed his plays grew very large audiences making them more well known among the public.

History:

The Stage

Quote:

"The stage of a public theater was a large platform that projected into the pit. This arrangement allowed the audience to watch from the front and sides. The performers, nearly surrounded by spectators, thus had close contact with most of their audience. Actors entered and left the stage through two or more doorways at the back of the stage. Behind the doorways were tiring (dressing) rooms. At the rear of the stage, there was a curtained discovery space. Scholars disagree about the details of this feature. But the space could be used to “discover”—that is, reveal—one or two characters by opening the curtains. Characters could also hide there or eavesdrop on conversations among characters up front on the main stage. The gallery that hung over the back of the main stage served as an upper stage. It could be used as a balcony or the top of a castle wall. The upper stage allowed Elizabethan dramatists to give their plays vertical action in addition to the usual horizontal movement. Some theaters may have had a small third-level room for musicians. A half roof projected over the upper stage and the back part of the main stage. Atop the roof was a hut that contained machinery to produce sound effects and various special effects, such as the lowering of an actor playing a god. The underside of the hut was sometimes called the heavens. Two pillars supported the structure. The underside of the heavens was richly painted, and the interior of the theater undoubtedly had a number of other decorative features. The main stage had a large trap door. Actors playing the parts of ghosts and spirits could rise and disappear through the door. The trap door, when opened, could also serve as a grave(Lander)."

Paraphrase:

The stages of public theaters were equipped with many utilities for use during plays to add effect and also had very colorful designs on them.

My Ideas:

Stages of theatres served big parts of plays with their utilities adding effect to the plays and inspiring future theatres to include these utilities and even improve on them. The effects of the stages in theatres made plays more interesting to watch and easier to produce.

History:

Theatres

Quote:

"In the late 16th century all classes of society (apart from royalty) visited the public theatres. The new theatres were popular and their audiences had a voracious appetite for new plays. New companies flourished and writers were employed to satisfy the demand for novelty(VictoriaAndAlbertMuseum)."

Paraphrase:

The comeback of theatres began in the late 16th century with the increase of playwrights who wrote many famous plays.

My Ideas:

Playwrights were one of the main reasons why theatres were revived. With more plays being written by upcoming playwrights, the more business theatres would gain from housing plays.

Theatres and plays were very iconic of 16th and 17th century England and even have a very deep and rich history behind them stemming to the earliest plays and theatre.

Works Cited

Anderson, Robert. “Shakespeare and His Theater: A Perfect Match.” Holt Literature & Language Arts: Mastering the California Standards: Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking, by G. Kylene Beers et al., Austin, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 2003, pp. 778-80.

Lander, Jesse M. “Shakespeare, William.” World Book Advanced. World Book, 2016. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.

Mabillard, Amanda. "The Great Theatre." Theatres, edited by Gerald EadesBentley.

Victoria and Albert Museum. www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/e/elizabethan-theatre/.

Bellinger, Martha Fletcher. "Elizabethan Playhouses, Actors and Audiences."Theatrehistory.com

Videos:

Created By
Elijah Mathews
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Credits:

Created with images by kevinofsydney - "the globe theatre" • Peter Glyn - "Globe Theatre" • D-Stanley - "Shakespeare`s Globe Theatre" • Gidzy - "The Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, England."

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