Elizabethan Theatre

Essay by k6y87High School, 12th grade April 2005

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The Elizabethan theatre grew tremendously by the moving force that was created by Queen Elizabeth. Not only did Elizabeth provide money that allowed her people the time and means to appreciate the arts, but supported the theaters as well. She approved the performances that were produced in London. This allowed the ordinary people to see these plays.

The first proper theatre as we know it was actually called "The Theatre", built at Shoreditch in 1576. Before this time, plays were performed in the courtyard of inns, or sometimes, in the houses of noblemen. After the Theatre, further open air playhouses opened in the London area, the most famous of these being The Globe, where many of Shakespeares plays were performed.

The theatres were outdoors so they could only have performances during the daytime. It was usually on a Sunday, when everyone could attend.

The structures of the public theaters were usually rounded, squared or many-sided.

In most, the theaters had at least, three levels of galleries and stood about ten meters high. The courtyard, which was also called the pit, measured about seventeen meters in diameter. This is where the poor townsmen stood and actually had the best spots unless it rained. This area cost 1 penny for entry. The wealthier townsmen paid 2 pennies to sit on benches in the gallaries. These were the worst seats for seeing the performance but the best to be seen by everyone. Because the audience were so close they would participate by cheering, hissing or if they got bored or didn't like one of the actors, they would throw rotten vegetables.

The uses of this multiple stage are, in many ways, obvious.

The lowest level used trap doors for devils, ghosts, graves and ditches for example, the witches from Macbeth would come out...