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TRTR The Theatre in Shakespeare’s time William Shakespeare William Shakespeare, born in 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, was a playwright whose works include.

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Presentation on theme: "TRTR The Theatre in Shakespeare’s time William Shakespeare William Shakespeare, born in 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, was a playwright whose works include."— Presentation transcript:

1 TRTR The Theatre in Shakespeare’s time William Shakespeare William Shakespeare, born in 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, was a playwright whose works include a great number of plays and sonnets, which are still today studied and taught in schools. To find out more information about Shakespeare and his works, click here. What was the theatre like in England in the 1500-1600’s? Study the following text and find out a little about theatres in London. T H E E A

2 theatretheatre The theatre was a lively place of entertainment in Shakespeare’s time, but opinions about it were divided. In the 1560’s, there were not specifically constructed places for theatres, but drama was performed in halls and converted inns. Such inns in London were, for example, the Bull in Bishopsgate street, the Bel Savage on Ludgate Hill, the Bell and Cross Keys in Gracechurch street and the Red Lion and the Boar’s Head in Whitechapel. As the theatre became more popular, new playhouses were built outside London’s city walls in the hope that the city authorities would not close them down and control them tightly. New theatres, such as James Burbage’s The Theatre in 1576, Henry Lanman’s The Curtain in 1577, Philip Henslowe’s and John Chomley’s The Rose in 1587, Francis Langley’s The Swan in 1596 and The Globe in 1599 were opened to satisfy the growing appetite for entertainment in London. Vocabulary to acquit oneself esiintyä, näytellä an ambassador suurlähettiläs an apparel puku, vaate an apprentice oppipoika, aloittelija to approximate jäljitellä ardently innokkaasti an artisan käsityöläinen, artesaani to befit pukea jotakuta, olla sopiva to bequeath jättää jälkeensä, testamentata a canopy katos converted muunnettu exquisite erittäin kaunis, upea a gallery parveke gentry ala-aateli to hover leijua ilmassa a peer pääri, aatelinen, vertainen a playwright näytelmäkirjailija a polygon monikulmio riff-raff rupusakki, tavallinen kansa a scaffold puinen lava, esiintymislava subversive (vallan-)kumouksellinen undermine heikentää, murentaa

3 T H E A I saw a play not far from our inn, in the suburb, at Bishopgate... At the end they danced, very gracefully, in the English and Irish mode. Thus everyday at around two o’clock in the afternoon in the city of London, two and sometimes even three plays are performed at different places, in order to make people merry; then those who acquit themselves best have also the largest audience. The places are built in such a way that they act on a raised scaffold, and everyone can well see everything. However, there are separate galleries and places, where one sits more pleasantly and better, and therefore also pays more. For he who remains standing below, pays only one English penny, but if he wants to sit, he is let in at another door where he pays a further penny. But if he also desires to sit on cushions in the pleasantest place, where he not only sees everything well, but can also be seen, then he pays at a further door, another English penny. And during the play, food and drink is carried around among the people, so that one can also refresh oneself for one’s money. The play actors are dressed most exquisitely and elegantly, because of the custom in England that when men of rank or knights die they give and bequeath almost their finest apparel to their servants, who, since it does not befit them, do not wear such garments, but thereafter let the play actors buy them for a few pence. The audiences of the public theatres represented an exceptional blend of the nobility and gentry, respectable middle-class merchants, artisans, and ‘mere riff-raff’, a social range that took in ambassadors and apprentices, peers, pickpockets, and prostitutes. One contemporary from Switzerland,Thomas Platter, reports what he saw when visiting the Curtain in 1599: T R E

4 T Even though theatre had its supporters, the city officials were not always pleased with the plays and theatres. The Revel’s Office practised censorship on the plays and sometimes closed down theatres for being immoral and inappropriate. The state had to know exactly what would be said on the stage in advance, and if necessary remove any dangerous or subversive passages of the plays. The opposition of theatres was strong, and the city fathers regarded the playhouses as potent sources of moral and physical infection: in addition to spreading illness, they encouraged criticism of the government and undermined morality. There was cause for concern, because the theatres were built in the ‘sleazier’ areas of the city, and they provided a natural focus for criminals: thieves, pickpockets, and prostitutes operated among the crowds, and the large crowds assembled seemed threatening in themselves: there could be 2000-3000 people at best. h e a T R E

5 T A E R The Globe theatre in London was one of the places were Shakespeare’s plays were performed, as Shakespeare’s company, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, were the resident group of actors at the Globe. Currently, the Globe theatre is one of the attractions in London, as it was re-built in 1994 and opened for visitors. It was re-built by using the original construction materials and plans, so that the new Globe would approximate the Globe of 1599, and the visitors would experience some of the authentic surroundings of the Renaissance theatre. The Globe held up to 3000 spectators in its time, and it was built in the shape of a polygon, which has a number of sides. There was a scaffold in the centre of the theatre, and it was sheltered by a canopy. In the front of the scaffold was the standing area, the open yard, where the ‘riff-raff’ would stand. The galleries were situated around the main stage, and they could be reached by stairs. The new Globe theatre in London H T E

6 H T A E The stage inside the Globe. Right in front of it, you can see the open yard area where the ordinary people would stand. R T E

7 H A E T Here you can see some galleries inside the Globe. As they were situated further back from the stage, pickpockets operated quietly among the spectators, and prostitutes serviced their customers while the attention was focused on the stage. R E T

8 R A E T Now you can test your memory with a little quiz. You can find it on the next page. Plays were performed in the afternoons, because there was no lighting available, other than the daylight. The atmosphere was lively, the audience participated and reacted to the events of the play. There were, of course, no modern toilets in the 1500’s, and people would just do their business while standing on the ground area, and one can only imagine what kind of smells hovered amongst the large crowd in the theatre, at the time of no technology for hygiene and advanced health care. On the stage, the spectators would see only boys and men, no women were allowed to perform. Plays acted were often stolen from fellow playwrights, as the competition between the theatres in London was harsh. To find out more about the Old and the New Globe theatre, click here (source for text: Briggs, J. 1997) E T H

9 A Theatre Quiz Click here.

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