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Elizabethan Theatre


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Title: Elizabethan Theatre

Elizabethan Theatre
  • Theatre History

Elizabethan Theatre
  • England was the center of Renaissance explosion.
    It wasnt Renaissance, but Elizabethan Theatre,
    named after the Queen who ruled during that
    period. She was also very fond of the arts.
  • Elizabethan era produced many great playwrights
    and plays.
  • Performers sought patronage from wealthy
    noblemen. Actors who were produced by the wealthy
    were considered legitimate. Anyone who didnt
    were considered to be rogues.

Elizabethan Theatre Cont.
  • Women were not allowed to act because it was
    considered unladylike and unsuitable. Young boys
    played womens parts.
  • We consider this abnormal, but in that era, it
    was completely normal under the circumstances.
  • Plays drew large, loud crowds, especially in the
    lower theatre levels, where admission was
  • Court plays plays geared to a more intelligent
    audience royalty and nobility. Beaumont and
    Fletcher wrote these kind of plays.

Elizabethan Theatre Cont.
  • Civil War erupted in 1642 and theatre faded away
    until 1660, when England would get a new theatre.

Elizabethan Theatre Cont.- Elizabethan Stage
  • Playhouses were round or octagonal with 3 levels
    of seating.
  • Seating levels were reserved for those who could
    afford the fee.
  • The pit, the bare dirt floor in front of the
    stage, was where the people with little money
    stood. They were called groundlings.
  • Those willing to pay the greatest fee could sit
    on the stage.

Elizabethan Theatre Cont.- Elizabethan Stage
  • Actors performed on a platform stage with trap
    doors scattered all over the stage.
  • Little scenery was used because the theatre was
  • No stage lighting, so performances were during
    the day.
  • The Heavens elaborately decorated ceiling to
    resemble the night sky.
  • Balcony a second story above the stage to be
    used as an acting area, but was most often used
    for the musicians.
  • At the top of the building, they had a flag to
    inform the public of an upcoming performance that

Photo of Globe Theatre
Elizabethan Playwrights Christopher Marlowe
  • Born in 1564 in Canterbury and he died right
    before his 30th birthday in 1593 in a tavern
    brawl fight.
  • He introduced blank verse.
  • There was a fierce rivalry between he and
    Shakespeare for greatest English dramatist.
  • Most famous plays Tamburlain the Great, The Jew
    of Malta, Edward II, The Tragical History of
    Doctor Faustus.

Elizabethan Playwrights Ben Jonson
  • Born in 1573 and died in 1637.
  • Considered to be the first English comedic
  • Most famous plays Volpone, The Alchemist and
    Every Man in His Humour.

Elizabethan Playwrights William Shakespeare
  • He was born in 1564 and died in 1616.
  • Greatest playwright ever.
  • He wrote 37 plays and 154 sonnets.
  • None of his plays were published till after his
    death. It is argued that his plays were altered
    by others, so they may not be entirely pure.
  • Most famous plays Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet,
    Macbeth, Othello, A Midsummer Nights Dream, King
    Lear, The Taming of the Shrew and The Tempest.
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