Globe Theatre Groundlings
The Globe Theatre Groundlings stood in the Yard, or pit, to watch the plays being performed. This was the cheapest part of the theatre, there were no seats and the entrance price was 1d which was equivalent to about 10% of a days wages. The members of the audience who stood in the pit were often referred to as 'Groundlings'. However, due to the hot summer days they were also referred to as 'Stinkards' - for obvious reasons. Many of the yard audiences were apprentices who worked in London. The Globe would have particularly attracted these young people and the were many complaints of apprentices avoiding work in order to go to the theatre - these apprentices would most certainly have been 'Groundlings'. The Groundlings would have watched the plays from the cramped conditions of the 'Yard' or 'Pit' which held up to 500 people. However, the average Elizabethans were much smaller than today's modern man - reducing our perception of the cramped area. Beneath their feet were the cobblestones covered with discarded nutshells and other garbage. Not a comfortable place to watch plays for up to three hours - the groundlings must have really loved the plays shown at the Globe.
What people said about the Globe Theatre Groundlings
The famous Elizabethan author Ben Jonson (1572-1637) the poet and playwright clearly disliked the noisy Groundlings and despised the raucous applause which followed exciting sword fights
"Or foamy praise that drops from common jaws"
John Marston (1575-1634) satirist and playwright objected to the smell when coming too close to the groundlings where he would be,
"choked with the stench of garlic ... pasted to the balmy jacket of a beer- brewer".
Henry Crosse in his Vertues Commonwealth; or Highway to honour (1603) stated:
"...the commonest haunters are for the most part, the leaudest persons in the land, apt for pilferie, periurie, forgerie, or any regories, the very scum, rascallitie, and baggage of the people, thieves cutpurses, shifters, cousoners; briefly an uncleane generation, and spaune of vipers...for a play is like a sinke in town; whereunto all the filth doth runne: or a byle in the body, that draweth all the humours into it."
Activities of the Globe Theatre Groundlings
The Globe Theatre Yard was filled with noisy, boisterous people - the Groundlings. The activities of the Globe Groundlings would have included:
- Gambling - the Elizabethan loved to gamble
- Fights and brawls
- Drinking ( there were no toilet facilities in the theatre )
- Fruit and nut sellers
Globe Theatre Groundlings
Interesting Facts and information about the Globe Theatre Groundlings. Additional details, facts and information about the Globe Theatre can be accessed via the Globe Theatre Sitemap.