Architecture of Theaters Ashleigh Page Period 5

Quote 1:

"This article investigates the ways in which Shakespeare's Globe “performs” its own notion of “authenticity” that is distinct from the artistic choices of the performances presented therein" (Pye).


This quote is referring to the stage itself as the art form versus the acting itself . The complexity of the architecture and stage setup is so great that many people will find it more intriguing than a play. Much work must be put into creating something so convoluted.

This is a great way to show the direct affect that the design of the theater had on the theater itself.

Quote 2:

"The Globe was round or polygonal on the outside and probably round on the inside. The theater may have held as many as 3,000 spectators. Its stage occupied the open-air space, with a pit in front for standing viewers" (Seidel).


Since the theater was round, it could fit more people. It also allowed spectators to stand directly in front of the stage so more seating was available for cheaper.

Quote 3:

'First, the part of the stage that projected into the court grew narrower, and the small curtained inner stage grew larger, until there developed what is called the proscenium stage. Here there is no outer stage; there is only the inner stage, and a large curtain separates it from the audience. The effect is like looking inside a window or inside a picture frame" (Anderson 779).


The stage was designed to create the effect of watching something on a screen or through a window. There could be many reasons for this, such as to cover the backstage area or hide the set and costume changes. Also, as the stage grew narrower, the easier is was to project your voice so everyone could hear. This quote is a great way to tie in the thesis that architecture had a major effect on theater in the 1500's. The way that the stage was built had a lot to do with the overall production of the play. For example, if the stage had not been narrower towards the end, the audience would not be able to hear the actors.

Quote 4:

"The plays were performed in the afternoon. Since the stage was open to the sky, there was no need for stage lighting" (Anderson 779)


The fact that the stage was open to the sky contributed greatly to the outcome of the plays. For example if it was raining, that specific show may not be as crowded. Or, if there was nice weather, the show may have a great outcome. Along with weather, the open stage made it easier to see the actors. If the play was completely inside, there would be much difficulty with lighting. This ties in the fact that architecture affected theater greatly in the 1500's. When the stage and most of the seating is open to the sky, there will be varied outcome of plays due to weather.

Quote 5:

"Trapdoors were placed in the floor of the of the main stage for the entrances and exits of ghosts and for descents into hell" (Anderson 779).


The stage would have special trap doors that would allow actors to suddenly disappear or appear. Because of this layout, plays would run much smoother and directors could get more creative with scripts. If architects had not specifically designed the stage to fit the needs of a play, none of the plays that Shakespeare had written would have been performed. For example, if the stage did not have trap doors, then the play Mac Beth would not have been able to be performed.

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.

Pye, Valerie Clayman. “Shakespeare’s Globe: theater arcitecture and the performance of authenticity.” Shakespeare’s Globe, 16 June 2014,

Seidel, Michael. “Globe Theater.” World Book Advanced, Dec. 2016,


Created with images by D-Stanley - "Shakespeare`s Globe Theatre" • tonynetone - "William Shakespeare" • Magnus D - "Shakespeare Globe" • marybettiniblank - "globe london theatre"

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