• The actors in Elizabethan England had a very bad reputation. Actors were considered to be shady, and many were viewed as bums.
  • Also, actors were believed to be very untrustworthy. In fact, people were so suspicious of Elizabethan actors that they were given rules to follow, and the rich, powerful people were allowed to take care of and manage these actors. Whenever actors tried to get a job, they would be asked for proof that they were being managed by these wealthy people because people were so nervous of them.
  • Also, the plays that the actors performed had many restrictions. Actors were not allowed to use certain words, and the plays were not allowed to bring up certain topics that might cause arguements among the crowds. Even with these rules, the audiences were often very rowdy.2052.jpg
  • Eventually, during the Elizabethan period, the theatre increased greatly in popularity. Because of its popularity, the reputation of the Elizabethan actors began to improve.
  • When the plays became really popular, the actors became the celebrities of the Elizabethan period. Some of the major Elizabethan actors became so rich that they owned part of the theatres that they worked at. Many became friends with the nobility and acted in front of them.
  • New theatres called amphitheaters, for example the famous Globe Theatre, were much nicer than previous theatres. globetheater.jpg
  • These nicer theatres helped give the theatre a better reputation because they reminded people of the classic plays from Greece and Rome. It also helped give the actors better reputations as well. However, these theatres didn't have ceilings, making them useless in certain weather conditions, so new theatres called playhouses were built which did have roofs.
  • Now the actors could work in all seasons of the year.
  • During the years of the famous Bubonic plague many of the theatres were closed down, and many of the Elizabethan actors left the towns and moved to the country because they thought it was safer.
  • Also, during Elizabethan times, all the actors were men. No women were allowed to be actors.
  • Young boys had to play the parts of women in all the plays. However, to look more like women, they were given white make-up to put on their faces. This make-up turned out to be poisonous, and many of these young actors became very sick or even died.
    The following are the names of some of the most famous Elizabethan actors:
    Edward Alleyn (1566 - 1626)
    Robert Armin (1568 - 1615)
    Christopher Beeston (1570 - 1638)
    Richard Burbage (1567 - 1619)
    Henry Condell (1568 - 1627)
    Nathan Field (1587 - 1619)
    John Heminge (1556 - 1630)
    William Kempe (1560 - 1603)
    John Lowin (1576 - 1659)
    William Rowley (1585 - 1642)
    William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616)
    Joseph Taylor (1586 - 1652)