The Shakespearean Theatre

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The Shakespearean Theatre

The plays of Shakespeare during his lifetime were performed on stages

in private theatres, provincial theatres, and playhouses. His plays

were acted out in the yards of bawdy inns and the great halls of the

London Inns of Court.

Today we are going to talk about one of the most well known of all the

renaissance stages associated with Shakespeare. But first a brief

introduction to some of the other Elizabethan theatres to provide a

more complete picture of the world in which Shakespeare lived and

worked.

The Theatre

The Theatre was the first London playhouse, built in 1576 by the

English actor and entrepreneur James Burbage, father of the great

actor Richard Burbage and friend of Shakespeare. Located in a northern

suburb of London, it was a vast, polygonal, three story timber

structure, open to the sun and rain. Its exterior was coated with lime

and plaster. It had features such as galleries, upper rooms, a tiring

house, and trap doors in the stage floor. 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 a production and was dismantled in

1598 forcing the chamberlain's men to find another home.

The Curtain

The curtain was the second London playhouse, built in 1577, next to

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... scene, it is most likely that

the action was halted for their prompt removal. Due to lack of props

and scenery, the acting troupes relied very heavily on costumes. Even

though Elizabethan audiences were deprived of eye catching background

scenes, they were never disappointed with the extravagant,

breathtaking clothes that were a certainty at every performance.

The original globe was built for William Shakespeare's company of

players on the south bank of Thomas in 1599, during the reign of

Elizabeth 1. it was an immediate success and soon became the most

popular playhouse in London. The new globe has risen again only a few

hundred yards from the original site. It is a meticulous

reconstruction of the first globe, the result of 30 years work

inspired by the tireless enthusiasm and vision of the late Sam

Wanamaker.
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