So who wants to learn about Elizabethan theatre? Nobody? Yeah I figured. But you have to. So lets make this as quick and painless as possible OK? Elizabethan theatre is big deal. A very, very big deal. This is because a guy named William Shakespeare (or a woman, or a gay man, or a collaboration of people depending on what theory you like) made a bunch of plays and they are highly revered like the Holy Grail of all literature. But our purpose here is not to discuss why they are considered to be so great. We're going back to the beginning.

In the beginning, the closest thing that you had to theatre was the various plays and skits preformed in Inn-yards so called because...they were held at inns.
inn.jpg A preformance at a typical Inn-yard. Note the balcony above.

These performance spaces were a lot better then preforming in open spaces like town squares because they were more beneficial to both the players and the innkeepers. See now the players wouldn't get yelled at for disturbing the peace and they also had lodgings. And the innkeepers were paid a sum by the players for the use of their inn. So everybody wins. A fee was charged to the people who would watch and an additional fee if they wanted a balcony seat. So the more people who came, the bigger the profit was for the players. In 1574 the city of London started to regulate the inn yard preformances. Read: they wanted a cut of the action so they started making their own profits from it. James Burbage (nice name) was making a nice profit from these inn yards and these new regulation by London was cutting into them. So he decided, the heck with it, and opened up the first everest theatre outside of the London city limits in 1576. He named it "The Theatre" because just before it opened, he suffered a tragic stupidity accent and lost all his creativity.

"The Theatre" took many aspects from the inn yards of the past, as well as other entertainment at the time. This was created by taking the features of existing blood sport rings and modifying them. (Bloodsport like bearbaiting and bull fighting. Yes these truely were golden civilized times.) Burbage and his brother in law added a fixed stage which allowed for special effects that would have been impossible on the trestle supported stages of the inn yards. These special effects consisted of cannons, trap doors for the actors, smoke, fireworks, spectacular "flying entrances", and a completely CGI Yoda so Frank Oz would only have to do the voice and not the puppetry.

Now Mr. Walker just pointed out that something this text heavy might scare you guys away. Yet I dispute that my clever writing (If I may be so bold) and the picture of Yoda would keep your attention. But he is the teacher, so now....It's Bullet time.

  • Many theatres also doubled as bearbaiting rings since their design took elements from it
  • The plays produced took much from the Greek and Roman Tragedies and Comedies
  • Most Elizabethan theatres had a classical theme and sections were named for Roman theatre
  • Most of the theatres were open air so whether or not a play happened depened on the weather.
  • The most famous theatre is of course the Globe Theatre because Shakespeare's plays were preformed there and it also burned down several times. The fire ordinances back then were very relaxed.
globe.jpg + fire_meaney.gif= Bad