Virtual Tour of the Globe Theatre


Light Imagery

Both Romeo and Juliet think of each other as forms of light. After meeting Juliet Romeo waits outside her bedroom in the garden and states that, "Juliet is the sun [and he calls her to] Arise . . . and kill the envious moon." (2.2.3-4) To Juliet Romeo is a day in the midst of night just as only in the darkness is their love illuminated. However, the images of light are not the soft light of a warm afternoon. On the contrary, the picture is that of, "an almost blinding flash of light, suddenly ignited, and as suddenly quenched, which was undoubtedly the way Shakespeare saw the story, in its swift and tragic beauty." (Spurgeon 1-2) The images, like the action itself, come out at a fast and furious pace and like a streak of lightening are gone in an instant, leaving only an imprint on the brain. Friar Lawrence remarks on this in Act two scene six with, "These violent delights have violent ends/ And in their triumph die like fire and powder,/ Which as they kiss consume." (9-11) They are trying to alternately speed up, slow down, stop, and reverse time and through that fate, which is and must be impossible. The lovers also see light in an unusual way. They meet and interact in darkness and therefore darkness becomes the friend of "light." It also follows that the rising of the sun, the real sun which is harsh and unforgiving, is their enemy. As Romeo states, "More light and light it grows, more dark and dark our woes!" (3.5.35-36) In the light of day the families could discover the secrets of the lovers much more easily than they could at night. So the lovers, these brilliant sparks of light, find life for their love in the darkness and semi-darkness which is all the better for their illumination.

Fate Imagery

The stars which represent fate prove to be an insurmountable obstacle to the love that Romeo and Juliet share. It is the fight against family, feud, city, and fate which propels the action forward. It is also because we the audience members want so badly for the star-crossed lovers to prevail that we cry at an outcome which we had no real doubt would happen. Not only do the characters in Romeo and Juliet believe in the controlling force of fate but according to E. M. W. Tillyard [link to not yet written historical contexts paper link could be whole quote or something; I totally arbitrarily chose his name], "the Elizabethan [also] believed in the pervasive operation of an external fate in the world." (49) Furthermore, "it was quite taken for granted that the stars dictated the general mutability of sublunary things, and that fortune was a part of this mutability applying to mankind alone." (Tillyard 48) One of the earliest instances of a character guessing at the fate awaiting him is Romeo in Act one scene four. Romeo has a premonition of what will come which is eerie in its accuracy. He foresees his own "untimely death" as stemming directly from the actions of that night (the party at the Capulets') and while he may contrive with the best of intentions and brightest of plans he will not escape what has been set before him. Much later in the play Romeo has one of his most famous lines. In Act five scene one, upon hearing of Juliet's death, he says, "Then I defy you stars!" (24) At first glance this is merely the ranting of a very young man but with a closer inspection those five words hold much significance. Romeo cannot defy the stars any more than he can change history. Mere lines before his death Romeo says, "O, here/ Will I set up my everlasting rest/ And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars/ From this world weary flesh." (5.3.109-112) The last action of his life is done in Act five scene three as a final attempt to throw the grasp of fate from his body but the audience knows that it is in actuality fate who has won, as it always will.
A careful examination of the cosmic imagery surrounding the lovers, the influence, and the impact of fate in Romeo and Juliet will yield a more satisfactory interpretation of the play. The stars, moon, sun, and very heavens themselves all conspire against the protagonists. "The background, both of things seen, and of the imagery, is of light against darkness; sunshine, starlight, moonbeams, sunrise and sunset, fire, candles, and torches, set off by quick coming darkness, clouds, mist, rain, and night," (Spurgeon 1) all run together and into each other until there is just a torrent of sight, sound, and image as fast and fierce as the play itself. To effectively perform the play one cannot dwell on what might have been but rather on what is--a furiously paced production. The abundant imagery and foreshadowing within Romeo and Juliet are a very necessary key to understanding the play.

-By Claire

Geography of London at the time…by Kate Young
Geographically, London has not changed much over the past few centuries. During the Elizabethan Era it was said to stretch from “Temple to Tower”as it stretched from the Tower of London in the East to the Temple about a mile away in the West. London in 1600 was a rapidly growing city of 75000 residents, with perhaps twice as many in the suburbs outside its walls. The Tower of London, where prisoners of the state were kept and sometimes executed, was a main focus.Another focus was London Bridge, a stone structure of many small arches spanning the river Thames. The River Thames was vital in the city’s life, carrying rowboats, barges and sailing ships. After rainstorms, the river carried away human excrement and rotting food washing in from ditches, dung piles, cesspits, and streams. (Citizens emptied chamber pots into cesspits or ditches, or simply threw the contents out of windows or doors or into a stream crossing their property.They emptied containers from outdoor toilets the same way.) The river divided Greater London into northern and southern sections. Shakespeare lodged in more than half-a-dozen dwellings on both sides of the Thames in districts that included Bishopsgate, in the northern section, and Southwark,in the southern section. Beyond these boundaries were Londons Suburbs, areas outside the strict control of the city authorities. Because Theatre was made for “the people”most theatres were built off the South Bank of Thames (among the prisons and brothels) so they could be free from the restrictions of city regulations. The Globe Theatre was constructed on the Bank of the River Thames. Shakespeare staged plays at the Globe Theatre,built in 1599 west of London Bridge in an area known as Bankside.


Shakespeare (1564-1616): Who was he?
Though William Shakespeare is recognized as one of literature’s greatest influences, very little is actually known about him. What we do know about his life comes from registrar records, court records, wills, marriage certificates and his tombstone. Anecdotes and criticisms by his rivals also speak of the famous playwright and suggest that he was indeed a playwright, poet and an actor.
Date of Birth? (1564)
William was born in 1564. We know this from the earliest record we have of his life; his baptism which happened on Wednesday, April the 26th, 1564. We don’t actually know his birthday but from this record we assume he was born in 1564. Similarly by knowing the famous Bard's baptism date, we can guess that he was born three days earlier on St. George’s day, though we have no conclusive proof of this.
Brothers and Sisters.
William was the third child of John and Mary Shakespeare. The first two were daughters and William was himself followed by Gilbert who died in 1612 and Richard who died in 1613. Edmund (1580-1607), sixth in the line was baptized on May the third, 1580 and William's oldest living sister was Joan who outlived her famous playwright brother. Of William’s seven siblings, only Judith and four of his brothers survived to adulthood.
William's Father.
From baptism records, we know William's father was a John Shakespeare, said to be a town official of Stratford and a local businessman who dabbled in tanning, leatherwork and whittawering which is working with white leather to make items like purses and gloves. John also dealt in grain and sometimes was described as a glover by trade.
John was also a prominent man in Stratford. By 1560, he was one of fourteen burgesses which formed the town council. Interestingly, William himself is often described as a keen businessman so we can assume he got his business acumen from his father. In the Bard's case, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree at all...
William's mother: Mary Arden.
William's mother was Mary Arden who married John Shakespeare in 1557. The youngest daughter in her family, she inherited much of her father’s landowning and farming estate when he died.
Early Days on Henley Street...
Since we know Stratford's famous Bard lived with his father, John Shakespeare, we can presume that he grew up in Henley Street, some one hundred miles northwest of London.
The Bard's Education.
Very little is known about literature’s most famous playwright. We know that the King’s New Grammar School taught boys basic reading and writing. We assume William attended this school since it existed to educate the sons of Stratford but we have no definite proof. Likewise a lack of evidence suggests that William, whose works are studied universally at Universities, never attended one himself!
William marries an older woman. (1582)
A bond certificate dated November the 28th, 1582, reveals that an eighteen year old William married the twenty-six and pregnant Anne Hathaway. Barely seven months later, they had his first daughter, Susanna. Anne never left Stratford, living there her entire life.
The Bard's children. (1583 & 1592)
Baptism records show that William’s first child, Susanna was baptized in Stratford sometime in May, 1583. Baptism records again reveal that twins Hamnet and Judith were born in February 1592. Hamnet, William's only son died in 1596, just eleven years old. Hamnet and Judith were named after William’s close friends, Judith and Hamnet Sadler. William's family was unusually small in a time when families had many children to ensure parents were cared for in later years despite the very high mortality rates of children and also their life expectancy in the 1500s.
The Bard as a poet.
Evidence that the great Bard was also a poet comes from his entering his first poem Venus and Adonis in the Stationers’ Registrar on the 18th of April, 1593. The playwright registered his second poem The Rape of Lucrece by name on the 9th of May, 1594.



London was the heart of England, the center of culture as well as commerce. Its actors Playwrights were among the leading literary artists of the day. London in the 16th century underwent a transformation. Its population grew 400% during the 1500s, to nearly 200,000 people in the city proper and outlying region. A rising merchant middle class carved out a productive income, and the economy boomed.In the 1580s, the writings of the University Wits (Marlowe, Greene, Lyly, Kyd, and Peele) defined the London theatre. Though grounded in medieval and Jacobean roots, these men produced new dramas and comedies using Marlowe's styling of blank verse. Shakespeare outdid them all; he combined the best traits of Elizabethan drama with classical sources, enriching the admixture with his imagination and wit.
In the Elizabethan period, London was not ruled by the government as it is today. The highest power was the monarchy, and of course, the monarch was Queen Elizabeth I. after the reign of her father, king Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth took a shattered nation, where disagreement between Catholics and Protestants tore at the very foundation of society; the royal money had been spent by Queen Mary, Mary's loss of Calais left England with no continental possessions for the first time since the arrival of the Normans in 1066 and many (mainly Catholics) doubted Elizabeth's claim to the throne. International issues were also arising - France had a strong grip in Scotland, and Spain, the strongest European nation at the time, was seen as a threat to the security of the realm. Elizabeth proved most calm and calculating (even though she had a horrendous temper), employing capable and distinguished men to carrying out royal prerogative. Elizabeth was a master of political science. She inherited her father's supremacist view of the monarchy, but showed intelligence by refusing to directly annoy Parliament. She recieved undying loyalty from her advisement council, who were constantly confused by her habit of waiting to the last minute to make decisions (this was not a deficiency in her makeup, but a tactic that she used to advantage). She used the various factions (instead of being used by them), playing one off another until the worn out combatants came to her for resolution of their grievances. Few English monarchs enjoyed such political power, while still maintaining the devotion of the whole of English society.
Elizabethan England often conjures images of the Royal Court with splendid costumes, banquets and extravagant entertainment. But for many people life was very different. During the 16th Century the population rose dramatically and this, added to other economic pressures, meant that an increasing number of people were unable to support themselves. As the standard of living dropped, the problem of vagrancy worsened and this was to have repercussions for the country as a whole.Elizabeth's government set about tackling this problem, and introduced a series of Acts which acknowledged that the care of the poor was now the community's responsibility, and that each citizen had to play his part. In this respect the Poor Laws were progressive for their time, and established a framework which lasted for many years. But what was everyday life like for the poor, and what impact did their presence have on our towns and villages?As the standard of living dropped, the problem of vagrancy worsened...There were several reasons for this increase in poverty. During the reign of Elizabeth I, the population rose from three to four million people. This increase was primarily due to a rise in fertility and a falling death rate and meant, in simple terms, that the country's resources now had to be shared by a greater number of people. Added to this was the problem of rising prices. In the last years of his reign, Henry VIII had debased the coinage which meant that the proportion of gold and silver in the coins was reduced. In 1560 Elizabeth's government took steps to remedy this by replacing all debased coins with new ones, thus restoring the country's currency to its proper levels. This move served to combat the problem of inflation in the early years of her reign.

High Society. Society began to form along new lines in the Tudor years. If feudal England was an age of community, Tudor England was one of individuality. Nobility and knights were still at the top of the social ladder, but the real growth in society was in the merchant class.
Nobles old and new. Within the nobility there was a distinction between old families and new. Most old noble families were Catholic, and most new noble families were Protestant. The upper classes were exempt from the new oaths of allegiance to the Church of England, and many Catholic families maintained private chaplains.
Noble obligations. It is easy to think of the nobility as the idle rich. They may have been rich (though not necessarily), but they certainly weren't allowed to be idle. Often, high office brought debt rather than profit. Honorific offices were unpaid, and visiting nobles to England were the responsibility of the English nobility to house and entertain at their own expense. Appointment to a post of foreign ambassador brought with it terrible financial burdens. The ambassador was expected to maintain a household of as many as 100 attendants.
Elizabethan progresses. The most expensive "honour" of all was that of housing Queen Elizabeth and her household. Elizabeth hit on the clever scheme of going on constant "progresses" about the country. Aside from the benefit of bringing her into closer contact with her subjects, she saved a great deal of money by making the nobles with whom she stayed foot the bill for her visit. Many nobles begged off the honour of her stay for fear of bankruptcy. Incidentally, the "progresses" of Elizabeth account for the fact that there are so many places today that advertise "Queen Elizabeth slept here". She slept just about everywhere.
Nobility had other expenses besides the monarch. They maintained huge households, and conspicuous consumption and lavish entertainment was expected.

The new merchant class. The Tudor era saw the rise of modern commerce with cloth and weaving leading the way. A prosperous merchant class emerged from the ashes of the Wars of the Roses. The prosperity of the wool trade led to a surge in building in the active wool areas. "Wool churches" can be seen today in the Cotswolds, Lavenham, Leominster, and Stamford, among others. The importance of the wool trade in late medieval and Tudor England cannot be overstated. Witness the inscription carved on a monument in a wool church, "I thank God and ever shall, it was the sheep that payed for all".
Literature. Latin was still the language of literacy, despite the success of Geoffrey Chaucer. In 1589 Spenser's Faerie Queen was a revelation of the possibilities of the English language in prose.
Plays and playwrights proliferated after 1580, notably Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare. Plays were originally performed in the courtyard of inns, whose galleried design influenced the later design of playhouses such as Shakespeare's The Globe (1599). These theatres were open to the air in the centre, or pit. Performances were given in daylight, due to the difficulty of lighting the stage and the unsafe nature of travel after dark.
Popular games included bowls, paume (the ancestor of tennis), tilting at quintain, bull and bear-baiting, and cockfighting. Medieval tournaments were replaced by masques, a sort of play or spectacle full of allegory. Sometimes fireworks, which had just been invented, were a part of the masque.
Practice with a long bow was still encouraged despite the advent of gunpowder and cannon. Accuracy was expected; a law of Henry VIII decreed that no one 24 years of age or older should shoot at a target less than 220 yards away. Early guns were incredibly slow and proved useless in wet weather. Bowmen could afford to laugh at them.
Steph Field.Music.Romeo and Juliet Music.docActing Companies in the 1500’s By Mel Cottrell

In 1572 Elizabeth I's Ministers passed through Parliament the "Act for Punishment as Vagabonds"; this required all entertainers to obtain a noble patron who would vouch for their conduct as they travelled through the countryside. Acting was beginning the process of becoming a respectable profession. Permanent theatres and acting companies were soon to be established in London as profitable money-making ventures despite opposition from Puritans who objected to such idle diversions taking their workers from more productive labour.
When the plague struck in the cities the theatres were closed and the acting companies had to find alternate sources of income. Often they would return to the nomadic life style which had been traditional for performers of all sorts. A good income could be earned by performing in the private homes of the nobility and in the Royal Court.
When James Burbage founded the acting company that Shakespeare was to join, he sought the patronage of Lord Hunsdon, the Lord Chamberlain. Hence the company came to be known as "The Lord Chamberlain's Men". Shakespeare, having already established his reputation as an actor and playwright, joined the company in 1594. When the Globe Theatre was opened in 1599 there were seven shareholders in "The Lord Chamberlain's Men". Cuthbert and Richard Burbage provided most of the capital for the new theatre and controlled a half interest in the company. Shakespeare, along with John Heminge, Augustine Phillips, Thomas Pope and William Kempe owned the other half of the shares. The names and numbers of "sharers" varied as the valuable shares in the partnership were sold with the consent of the other owners.
Pressure from the authorities had reduced the number of adult acting companies in London to three by the spring of 1603. In May, those three "privileged companies" were granted patronage (and therefore protection) by members of the royal family. By decree of King James, the Lord Chamberlain's Men became "The King's Men". The shareholders in the company were given minor positions in the royal household as "Grooms of the Chamber."This honour signified the prominence of Shakespeare's acting company in the kingdom.
Here, our page is now created. Please do your research, buddies. x

Costume Websites: Ok, but these costumes are weird party costume interpretations of the period. Lets try some other sites.

Shakespeare's life by Danielle Sisam
William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564; died 23 April 1616)[a] was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist.[1] He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon".[2][b] His surviving works, including some collaborations, consist of about 38 plays,[c] 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.[3]
Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children: Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith. Between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men. He appears to have retired to Stratford around 1613, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive, and there has been considerable speculation about such matters as his physical appearance, sexuality, religious beliefs, and whether the works attributed to him were written by others.[4]
Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1589 and 1613.[5][d] His early plays were mainly comedies and histories, genres he raised to the peak of sophistication and artistry by the end of the sixteenth century. He then wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, considered some of the finest works in the English language. In his last phase, he wrote tragicomedies, also known as romances, and collaborated with other playwrights.
Many of his plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy during his lifetime. In 1623, two of his former theatrical colleagues published the First Folio, a collected edition of his dramatic works that included all but two of the plays now recognised as Shakespeare's.
Shakespeare was a respected poet and playwright in his own day, but his reputation did not rise to its present heights until the nineteenth century. The Romantics, in particular, acclaimed Shakespeare's genius, and the Victorians worshipped Shakespeare with a reverence that George Bernard Shaw called "bardolatry".[6] In the twentieth century, his work was repeatedly adopted and rediscovered by new movements in scholarship and performance. His plays remain highly popular today and are constantly studied, performed and reinterpreted in diverse cultural and political contexts throughout the world.

For all his fame and celebration, William Shakespeare remains a mysterious figure with regards to personal history. There are just two primary sources for information on the Bard: his works, and various legal and church documents that have survived from Elizabethan times. Naturally, there are many gaps in this body of information, which tells us little about Shakespeare the man.
William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, allegedly on April 23, 1564. Church records from Holy Trinity Church indicate that he was baptized there on April 26, 1564. Young William was born of John Shakespeare, a glover and leather merchant, and Mary Arden, a landed local heiress. William, according to the church register, was the third of eight children in the Shakespeare household—three of whom died in childhood. John Shakespeare had a remarkable run of success as a merchant, alderman, and high bailiff of Stratford, during William's early childhood. His fortunes declined, however, in the late 1570s.
There is great conjecture about Shakespeare's childhood years, especially regarding his education. It is surmised by scholars that Shakespeare attended the free grammar school in Stratford, which at the time had a reputation to rival that of Eton. While there are no records extant to prove this claim, Shakespeare's knowledge of Latin and Classical Greek would tend to support this theory. In addition, Shakespeare's first biographer, Nicholas Rowe, wrote that John Shakespeare had placed William "for some time in a free school." John Shakespeare, as a Stratford official, would have been granted a waiver of tuition for his son. As the records do not exist, we do not know how long William attended the school, but certainly the literary quality of his works suggest a solid education. What is certain is that William Shakespeare never proceeded to university schooling, which has stirred some of the debate concerning the authorship of his works.
The next documented event in Shakespeare's life is his marriage to Anne Hathaway on November 28, 1582. William was 18 at the time, and Anne was 26—and pregnant. Their first daughter, Susanna, was born on May 26, 1583. The couple later had twins, Hamnet and Judith, born February 2, 1585 and christened at Holy Trinity. Hamnet died in childhood at the age of 11, on August 11, 1596.
For the seven years following the birth of his twins, William Shakespeare disappears from all records, finally turning up again in London some time in 1592. This period, known as the "Lost Years," has sparked as much controversy about Shakespeare's life as any period. Rowe notes that young Shakespeare was quite fond of poaching, and may have had to flee Stratford after an incident with Sir Thomas Lucy, whose deer and rabbits he allegedly poached. There is also rumor of Shakespeare working as an assistant schoolmaster in Lancashire for a time, though this is circumstantial at best.
It is estimated that Shakespeare arrived in London around 1588 and began to establish himself as an actor and playwright. Evidently, Shakespeare garnered envy early on for his talent, as related by the critical attack of Robert Greene, a London playwright, in 1592: " upstart crow, beautified with our feathers, that with his Tiger's heart wrapped in a player's hide, supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blank verse as the best of you: and being an absolute Johannes fac totum, is in his own conceit the only Shake-scene in a country."
Greene's bombast notwithstanding, Shakespeare must have shown considerable promise. By 1594, he was not only acting and writing for the Lord Chamberlain's Men (called the King's Men after the ascension of James I in 1603), but was a managing partner in the operation as well. With Will Kempe, a master comedian, and Richard Burbage, a leading tragic actor of the day, the Lord Chamberlain's Men became a favorite London troupe, patronized by royalty and made popular by the theatre-going public.
Shakespeare's success is apparent when studied against other playwrights of this age. His company was the most successful in London in his day. He had plays published and sold in octavo editions, or "penny-copies" to the more literate of his audiences. Never before had a playwright enjoyed sufficient acclaim to see his works published and sold as popular literature in the midst of his career. In addition, Shakespeare's ownership share in both the theatrical company and the Globe itself made him as much an entrepeneur as artist. While Shakespeare might not be accounted wealthy by London standards, his success allowed him to purchase New House and retire in comfort to Stratford in 1611.
William Shakespeare wrote his will in 1611, bequeathing his properties to his daughter Susanna (married in 1607 to Dr. John Hall). To his surviving daughter Judith, he left £300, and to his wife Anne left "my second best bed." William Shakespeare allegedly died on his birthday, April 23, 1616. This is probably more of a romantic myth than reality, but Shakespeare was interred at Holy Trinity in Stratford on April 25. In 1623, two working companions of Shakespeare from the Lord Chamberlain's Men, John Heminges and Henry Condell, printed the First Folio edition of his collected plays, of which half were previously unpublished.
William Shakespeare's legacy is a body of work that will never again be equaled in Western civilization. His words have endured for 400 years, and still reach across the centuries as powerfully as ever. Even in death, he leaves a final piece of verse as his epitaph:
Good friend, for Jesus' sake forbeare
To dig the dust enclosed here.
Blessed be the man that spares these stones,
And cursed be he that moves my bones.

  • Medicine, Sciene and Alchemy
  • Social, political, economic. History of London, England 1560-1642
  • Geography of London
  • Elizabethan world view, eg wheel of fortune.
  • Place of religion and monarchy in society
  • Shakespeares life
  • Other play writes in the time era
  • The stage, playhouses and audience
  • Techonology of stage, including costume
  • Music
  • Acting companies

These are all the headings I got down, just chuck your info next to it/under it. If i missed something i'm sorry ! Just add it in :)

Billie Pederse

Tecnology of stages and costumes


The Elizabethan Theatres started in the cobbled courtyards of Inns - they were called Inn-yards. As many as 500 people would attend play performances. There was clearly some considerable profit to be made in theatrical productions. James Burbage was an actor, who at one time would have played in the Inn-yards and , no doubt , negotiated a high price with the Inn keeper to perform on his premises. It was the idea of James Burbage to construct the first purpose-built theatre - it was called 'The Theatre'. It was based on the style of the old Greek and Roman open-air amphitheatres. 'The Theatre' was to be the first of many Elizabethan Theatres. However, profit dropped in the winter as people would not venture to the cold open arenas of these massive Elizabethan Theatres. Playhouses were therefore used for many winter productions. Many of the playhouses were converted from the old coaching inns or other existing buildings - all productions were staged in the comparative warmth of these indoor Elizabethan Theatres. Most people associated Elizabethan Theatres with those built in a similar style to the Globe Theatre - the massive Amphitheatres.

Some interesting facts and information about Elizabethan Theatres

|| || Elizabethan Theatre facts || The Amphitheatres were designed as an open arena || || Size of Elizabethan Theatre || Up to 100 feet in diameter || || Shapes of Elizabethan Theatre || Octagonal or circular in shape having between 8 and 24 sides || || Building materials used in the construction of Elizabethan Theatres || Timber, nails, stone (flint), plaster and thatched roofs. Later amphitheatres had tiled roofs || || Building Duration || 6 months || || Overall design of the Elizabethan Theatre || The open air arena of the amphitheatre was called the 'pit' or the 'yard'. The stage of the amphitheatre projected halfway into the 'pit'. It had a raised stage at one end which was surrounded by three tiers of roofed galleries with balconies overlooking the back of the stage. || || Audience Capacity || 1500 - 3000 || || The Grounds of the theatre || Bustling with people. Stalls selling merchandise and refreshments. || || Toilet Facilities || None . People relieved themselves outside. Sewage was buried in pits or disposed of in the River Thames. All theatres closed during outbreaks of the Bubonic Plague - disease would have spread via the rats & fleas || || The Entrance to the theatre || Usually one main entrance. Some later theatres had external staircases to access the galleries || || The 'Box ' and the 'Box Office' || Playgoers put 1 penny in a box at the Elizabethan theatre entrance. At the start of the play the admission collectors put the boxes in a room backstage - the box office.

Access to the Balconies & Galleries
Two sets of stairs, either side if the theater. The first gallery would cost another penny in the box which was held by a collector at the front of the stairs. The second gallery would cost another penny

The 'Housekeepers'
The owners of the theatre

Lighting in the Elizabethan Theatre
Natural lighting as plays were produced in the afternoon. However there was some artificial lighting mainly intended to provide atmosphere for night scenes

Heating in the Elizabethan Theatre
There was no heating. Plays were performed in the summer months and transferred to the indoor playhouses during the winter

Stage dimensions
Varying from 20 foot wide 15 foot deep to 45 feet to 30 feet

The height of the stage
A raised stage - 3 to 5 feet and supported by large pillars or trestles

The floor of the Stage
Made of wood, sometimes covered with rushes. Trap doors would enable some special effects e.g. smoke in the Elizabethan Theatre

The rear of the Stage
A roofed house-like structure was at the rear of the stage, supported by two large columns (pillars)

The 'Heavens'
The 'Heavens' served to create an area hidden from the audience. This area provided a place for actors to hide. A selection of ropes & rigging would allow for special effects, such as flying or dramatic entries

Music was an extra effect added in the 1600's

The 'pit' (also referred to as the 'yard')
The stage projected halfway into the 'pit', also called the 'yard' (if tiled or cobbled) where the commoners (groundlings) paid 1 penny to stand to watch the play

Commoners who paid 1 penny admission to stand to watch the play

During the height of the summer the groundlings were also referred to as 'stinkards' for obvious reasons

Access to the Galleries
Two sets of stairs, either side of the Elizabethan Theatre. The stairways could also be external to the main structure to give maximum seating space

Seats in the galleries - Three levels
The seats in each of the three levels of galleries were tiered with three rows of wooden benches, increasing in size towards the back, following the shape of the building. The galleries in Elizabethan

* - There were no Elizabethan Theatres until 1576 - plays were performed in the courtyards of inns - they were referred to as 'inn-yards'

  • - James Burbage built the very first theatre in 1576 with his brother-in-law John Brayne, appropriately named 'The Theatre'.
  • - The Globe was built in a similar style to the Coliseum, but on a smaller scale - other Elizabethan Theatres followed this style of architecture - they were called amphitheatres.
  • - Elizabethan theatres were also used for bear baiting, gambling and for immoral purposes
  • - Elizabethan theatres attracted huge crowds - up to 3000 people
  • - Shakespeare and his company built TWO Globe Theatres!
  • - The Globe theatre was built by a carpenter called Peter Smith together with his workforce. They started building in 1597 and it was finished in 1598
  • - Many Londoners were strict Protestants - Puritans in fact, who abhorred the theatres and many of the people they attracted
  • - Objections to the Theatres escalated from the Church and the City of London OfficialsRespectable citizens added even more objections about the rise in crime and the bawdy nature of some of the plays, fighting, drinking not to mention the risk of so many people and the spread of the Bubonic Plague! In 1596 London's authorities were unwilling to ignore the growing complaints any longer and they banned the public presentation of plays and all Theatres within the City limits of London
- All Theatres located in the City were forced to move to the South side of the River Thames

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Elizabethan Clothing
Elizabethan Clothing
The section and era covering Elizabethan Clothing and Fashion includes extensive information regarding all elements of clothing and fashion during the Elizabethan era. The subjects range from the type of clothing regarded as Upper Class Fashion - rich, sumptuous materials and elegant styles to clothes worn by the lower classes using basic materials. Each item of Elizabethan clothing has been designed. Elizabethan Women's Clothing - gowns, hats, corsets, underwear, collars, ruffs and shoes. Elizabethan Men's Clothing - doublets, breeches, underwear, collars, ruffs, hats and shoes. For additional information of the period please click the following link to Tudor Clothes.
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Facts and information about Medieval Clothing
The Hair styles, Make-up, Jewelry and even suitable Wedding Dress has also been included. But the most alien concepts of the Elizabethan era was that, regardless of their wealth, Elizabethans were not allowed to wear what clothes they liked. Their clothing and items of apparel were dictated by the Elizabethan Sumptuary Laws which governed the style and materials worn!
Elizabethan Clothing for Women
Elizabethan Clothing for Men
  • Underclothes!
    • Smock or shift, also calleda chemise made of linen
    • Stockings or hose
    • Corset or bodice
    • Farthingale - a hooped skirt
    • A Roll or Rowle
    • Stomacher
    • Petticoat
    • Kirtle
    • Forepart

    • Partlet

                    • Over Clothes!
                      • Gown
                      • Separate sleeves
                      • Ruff
                      • Cloak
                      • Shoes
                      • Hat

  • Underclothes!
    • Shirt
    • Stockings or hose
    • Codpiece
    • Corset

                    • Over Clothes!
                      • Doublet
                      • Separate sleeves
                      • Breeches
                      • Belt
                      • Ruff
                      • Cloak
                      • Shoes
                      • Hat

Elizabethan Clothing for Women
Elizabethan Clothing for Men

The Elizabethan Sumptuary Clothing Laws were used to control behaviour and to ensure that a specific class structure was maintained! English Sumptuary Laws governing the clothing that Elizabethans wore were well known by all of the English people. The penalties for violating Sumptuary Laws could be harsh - fines, the loss of property, title and even life!

Elizabethan clothes provided information about the status of the person wearing them. This was not just dictated by the wealth of the person, it also reflected their social standing. Only Royalty were permitted to wear clothes trimmed with ermine. Lesser Nobles were allowed to wear clothing trimmed with fox and otter and so on and so forth! Elizabethan Sumptuary Laws dictated what colors and type of clothing individuals were allowed to own and wear, an easy and immediate way to identify rank and privilege. The materials and even the colors of Elizabethan clothing were therefore very important and sections have been dedicated to these subjects in relation to dyes, fabrics and the type of clothes that men were allowed to wear and the type of clothing that Elizabethan women were allowed to wear! As you read through the restrictions placed on Elizabethan clothing the subject becomes more and more fascinating. The importance and significance of costumes used in the Elizabethan theatres also becomes very clear!

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