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Elizabethan and Jacobean Theatre: An Introduction

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Elizabethan and Jacobean Theatre: An Introduction A few dates 1576 Building of the first public theatre, known as The Theatre, by James Burbage and John Braynes ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Elizabethan and Jacobean Theatre: An Introduction


1
Elizabethan and Jacobean Theatre An Introduction
2
A few dates
  • 1576 Building of the first public theatre, known
    as The Theatre, by James Burbage and John
    Braynes, north of the river and outside the city
    walls. Used by most of the major companies.
  • Master of the Revels
  • 1587 Building of The Rose by Henslowe
  • 1595 Building of the Swan, south of the river on
    Bankside. Described and sketched in 1596 by a
    visiting Dutchman, Johannes de Witt. See the
    illustration.

3
Map of theatres
4
De Witts Sketch
5
A few dates (2)
  • 1598-9 Dismantling of the Theatre to be rebuilt
    south of the river on Bankside as the first Globe
    Theatre (by Richard and Cuthbert Burbage).
    Similar in structure to the Swan. This was the
    theatre owned and used by Shakespeare's company,
    the Lord Chamberlain's Men (after 1603 the King's
    Men). It was destroyed by fire in 1613 and
    rebuilt in 1614 as the second Globe, demolished
    in 1644
  • 1608 Acquisition by Shakespeare's company of the
    second Blackfriars Theatre, the most important
    private theatre of the period, indoors and
    situated on the north bank of the Thames.
  • 1642 Closing of the theatres with the onset of
    the English Revolution or Civil War

6
The Globe (1)
  • 1564  Shakespeare born in Stratford-Upon-Avon
  • 1576 James Burbage builds the the first public
    playhouse in London the Theatre in Shoreditch.
    The Lord Chamberlain's Men use it from 1594 to
    1596.  
  • 1598-9 The first Globe Playhouse was built and
    opened, using timber from the Theatre. First
    performance probably 21 June 1599.

7
The Globe (2)
  • 21 September 1599 first recorded performance of
    a play at the Globe (Julius Caesar), by a Swiss
    visitor, Thomas Platter. Henry V and As You Like
    It probably also performed that year. Platter
    also gives a careful record of ticket prices and
    seating arrangements.
  • 1613 The Globe burns down accidentally during a
    performance of Henry VIII. Rebuilt immediately on
    original foundations.This time the roof is tiled,
    not thatched. Shakespeare retires to Stratford.
  • 1616 Shakespeare dies.
  • 1642 The Globe is closed by the Puritans, as are
    all playhouses in London.

8
Summary (Bankside)
  • 1550-1642 There were four theatres on Bankside -
    the Globe, the Rose, the Hope, the Swan and also
    several Bear-baiting and Bull-baiting
    amphitheatres. Over 15 venues were available in
    London to hear a play. 

9
John Norden's panorama Civitas Londini 1600
10
Wenceslaus Hollar's Long View of London 1647
11
Hollars Globe
12
London in 1616 by Claes van Visscher
13
Detail
14
De Witts Sketch
15
Title page of Roxana by William Alabaster (1632)
(Indoor theatre?)
16
Modern Reconstruction of the Globe
17
Observations (Open-air theatre)
  • Raised stage / yard where groundlings stood
    seats in galleries around more expensive, perhaps
    also some on stage rooms at rear for actors'
    entrances and exits, for machinery, musicians.
    Typical public theatre 1590s to 1640 (known as
    Elizabethan, Jacobean, Caroline). No roof, no
    artificial lighting but props, elaborate
    costumes. Could take 3000 people, probably
    ranging across courtiers, wits, gentry,
    pickpockets, merchants, artisans, prostitutes,
    soldiers. Outside City walls to escape
    jurisdiction of hostile authorities, so on south
    bank of Thames. Often closed in times of plague,
    political crisis, most notably in 1642.

18
Reconstruction indoor theatre (Blackfriars)
19
Observations on indoor theatres
  • Blackfriars Theatre, north of river, under
    jurisdiction of city fathers, with some court
    protection. Bought by Shakespeare's company
    1608. Indoors, artificial lighting, 500-600
    capacity. Tickets from one shilling. Elaborate
    machinery, including flying gear. Stage still
    part of auditorium, but audience mostly have
    straight-on view, rather than sitting in the
    round. Different dynamic actors/audience Sh's
    last plays, much use of spectacle and masque-like
    elements. From 1608, Shakespeare therefore
    writing for 2 very different playing spaces, and
    some plays (probably e.g. Macbeth, The Tempest)
    adapted to be performed in both. Versatility of
    both writer and actors.

20
Acting companies of Elizabethan/Jacobean period
  • Shakespeares company known as Lord Chamberlains
    Men or, after 1603, King's Men. Protection. Men
    no women on public stage until 1660, their parts
    being played by 'boys. A joint stock company
    core of shareholders with stake in theatre(s)
    they owned, plays they owned, props, costumes,
    their own acting skills. Shakespeare a writer,
    actor, and also a capitalist, part-owner of the
    company. No director instead, a team, perhaps
    with internal tensions and rows, some more
    powerful than others. But the shareholders did
    own their resources they had between them quite
    a lot of control. This produces very rich and
    varied drama, lots of experimentation.

21
Gurr, The Elizabethan Stage and Acting
  • Acting (action and playing)
  • Casual entertainment (player and shareholder) vs
    instructive mirror for life (playwrights)
  • Shakespeare on both sides
  • Money and theatre
  • Play scripts as raw material for the stage.

22
Gurr (2)
  • Repertory system (a different play every
    afternoon of the working week little scope for
    the finer point of staging).
  • Speed of delivery
  • Novelty (p. 249) never before such a direct
    contact with the audience.
  • Personation (Marston, 1599).
  • Realism?

23
William Kempe 
24
Robert Armin
25
Edward Alleyn as Tamburlaine
26
Rival companies / rival actors
  • This illustration of the character of Tamburlaine
    is actually the actor Edward Alleyn who was most
    famous for his performances of Marlowe's play.
    His only rival in fame was Richard Burbage
    (Hamlet). Alleyn was the star of the Rose
    theatre. He married Philip Henslowe's daughter in
    1592 and became his father in law's partner,
    first at the Rose, then at the Fortune (1600). He
    became so prosperous that he was able to found
    Dulwich College, which now houses precious art
    collections, but also Henslowe's diary, an
    essential document for our knowledge of Early
    Modern stage practice.

27
New Globe (stage)
28
New Globe
29
The yard and groundlings
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