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The Theatre Experience of Elizabethan England


The Theatre Experience of Elizabethan England. By: Arbnor Hasani ... Taming of the Shrew. The Tempest. Troilus and Cressida. Twelfth Night. Two Gentlemen of Verona ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Theatre Experience of Elizabethan England

The Theatre Experience of Elizabethan England
  • By Arbnor Hasani

Elizabethan Theatre - Characteristics
  • Period of Queen Elizabeth I
  • 1558 1603
  • Decreed to prohibit
  • performance of plays with
  • religious and political content
  • First theatre buildings appeared
  • Theatre became commercial and turned to
    literature for its subjects
  • Elizabethan theatre and the name of William
    Shakespeare are inextricably bound together, but
    also Christopher Marlowe, Ben Johnson, John
    Fletcher, John Webster and Thomas Kyd.

  • Since there were no specially designed theatre
    buildings at first theatre groups performed in
    the courtyards of inns
  • Temporary stage would be erected at the end of
    the yard and the audience would gather, not only
    in the yard itself, but would be able to pay for
    a view, perhaps even a seat inside the inn by a
    window overlooking the yard.
  • Later inn-yards dictated the shape and form of
    the open-air theatres.

Picture of an Inn-Yard
'Strolling Players'
  • In the 16th century acting was not accepted as a
    profession gt this lead to patronage of actors
    from nobleman, yet with little financial support.
  • Actors were known as 'Strolling Players' gt they
    performed plays, they walked on stilts, they
    juggled, they created slapstick scenes.
  • At the end of their performance they appealed to
    the audience to be generous and they went round
    with their hats collecting whatever was thrown to

Actors and travelling troupes
  • Before the building of permanent playhouses of
    Shakespeares time, plays were put on by
    travelling troupes of actors
  • Actors would travel throughout the country in
    wooden wagons that could be transformed into
    makeshift stages.
  • Usually stages were set up in the courtyard of an
    inn or at times in the home of a nobleman at his
  • Famous actors Richard Burbage, Edward Alleyn,
    Shakespeare, Richard Tarlton, William Kempe

Acting Companies
  • The travelling acting companies often had the
    reputation of being vagabonds because of the
    audiences that they attracted.
  • Four major acting companies Lord Stranges Men
    Chamberlains Men Admirals Men Kings Men

  • The London Inn-Yards were restricted and 'The
    Theatre' was born.
  • James Burbage built the first theater at
    Shoreditch in 1576.
  • Most famous theaters Curtain Theatre (1577), the
    Rose (1587), the Swan (1595), the Globe (1599),
    the Fortune (1600), and the Red Bull (1604) .
  • Seating in the theater reflected the social
    status of the people

The Swan Theatre, this is the only surviving
drawing of a public theatre from Shakespeare's
The Globe Theater, a typical structure of an
Elizabethan Theatre
  • Playhouses were more expensive than theaters
  • More exclusive and private
  • Luxuries and roofed
  • Food and drinks were served
  • Audience capacity up to 500
  • Music was strongly featured
  • The Gray's Inn and Whitehall were playhouses.

  • Elaborate and colorful costumes
  • Communicate the message of the character
  • Show social status or profession

  • Written for and property of particular
    theatrical companies
  • Average life of a play was 10 performances
  • New plays were demanded gt they brought more
    money than old plays
  • A play was produced every 17 days
  • Many plays were lost

Dramatic Effects
  • Various noises produced off-stage
  • Audience were involved in the play shouting
    suggestions, encouragements or curses to the
  • Dialogue revealed to the audience the time and
    place of the action, the characters identities
    and even their physical appearances
  • There was machinery to produce sound effects and
    a trapdoor on the stage that was leading to the

Famous Plays
  • Thomas Kyd gt Soliman, Perseda, The Spanish
  • Ben Johnson gt Every Man of His Humour, Every
    Man Out of His Humour, Volpone, Masque of
    Queens, The Alchemist
  • Christopher Marlow gt Tamburlaine, The
    massacre at Paris, The Jew of Malta, Eduard
    II, Doctor Faustus

William Shakespeares famous plays
  • Comedies 
  • All's Well That Ends Well
  • As You Like It
  • The Comedy of Errors
  • Cymbeline
  • Love's Labours Lost
  • Measure for Measure
  • The Merry Wives of Windsor
  • The Merchant of Venice
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream
  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • Pericles, Prince of Tyre
  • Taming of the Shrew
  • The Tempest
  • Troilus and Cressida
  • Twelfth Night
  • Two Gentlemen of Verona
  • Winter's Tale 

Histories  Henry IV, Part IIHenry VHenry VI,
Part IHenry VI, Part IIHenry VI, Part IIIHenry
VIIIKing JohnRichard IIRichard III
Tragedies Antony and CleopatraCoriolanusHamletJ
ulius CaesarKing LearMacbethOthelloRomeo and
JulietTimon of AthensTitus Andronicus
  • The Essential Theatre - Oscar Brockett
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//

  • Thank You