Elizabethan theatres provided an expanding industry during the Elizabethan era. Many Elizabethan theatres sprang up in and around the City of London. The excitement, money and fame lured entrepreneurs and actors into working in the famous Elizabethan Theatres of London.
Development of Elizabethan Theatres
The Elizabethan Theatres started in the cobbled courtyards of Inns, or taverns - they were therefore 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 of the purpose-built Elizabethan theatres - it was called 'The Theatre'. The Theatre 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 new indoor Elizabethan Theatres. Most people associated Elizabethan Theatres with those built in a similar style to the Globe Theatre - the massive Amphitheatres. The development of the Elizabethan Theatres therefore moved from street productions to inn-yards and then on to purpose built Elizabethan Amphitheatres and Playhouses.
Interesting Facts and Information about Elizabethan Theatres
Some interesting facts and information about Elizabethan Theatres:
- The design of Elizabethan theatres was based on Roman arenas - the amphitheatres
- Elizabethan theatres were octagonal or circular in shape having between 8 and 24 sides
- Interesting Facts and information about Elizabethan theatres
- Building materials used in the construction of Elizabethan Theatres were timber, nails, stone (flint), plaster and thatched roofs
- The design of Elizabethan Theatres feature open air arena of the amphitheatre was called the 'pit' or the 'yard'. The stage of Elizabethan theatres projected halfway into the 'pit'. They had a raised stage at one end which was surrounded by three tiers of roofed galleries with balconies overlooking the back of the stage
- The seats in each of the three levels of galleries of Elizabethan theatres were tiered with three rows of wooden benches, increasing in size towards the back, following the shape of the building. The galleries in Elizabethan Theatres were covered affording some shelter from the elements
- The Audience Capacity of Elizabethan theatres ranged from 1500 - 3000
- There was usually one main entrance to Elizabethan theatres, however, some later theatres had external staircases to enable easier access the galleries
- Lighting in the Elizabethan Theatres was usually natural lighting, as plays were produced in the afternoon. However, there was some artificial lighting mainly intended to provide atmosphere for night scenes
- There was no heating in Elizabethan theatres. Plays were performed in the summer months and transferred to the indoor playhouses during the winter
- Facts and History about Elizabethan theatres
Interesting Facts and information about the development of the Elizabethan Theatre. Additional details, facts and information about the Elizabethan Theatre can be accessed via the Globe Theatre Sitemap.