History and Timeline by malj


                              History and Timeline
                                   1576 James Burbage (father of the actor, Richard Burbage)
                                   obtains lease and permission to build
                                        'The Theatre' in Shoreditch, London. The Lord
                                   Chamberlain's Men use it from 1594 to 1596.
                                   1587 Open air amphitheatre The Rose, Bankside, Surrey is
                                   1593 Theatres close due to the Bubonic Plague (The Black
                                   1594 The Lord Chamberlain's Company (formally known as
                                   'Lord Stranges Men' was formed.
                                   1595 March 15, First document mentioning Shakespeare
                                   connected with the Theatre.
                                   1596 July - The Lord Chamberlain dies and the acting troupe
                                   lose this important patron.
                                   1596 From 1596 to 1597 London's authorities banned the
public presentation of plays within the city limits of London.
1596 James Burbage purchases Blackfriars and converts it to a theatre.
1597 Shakespeare's company of actors moved to the Curtain Theatre after failed negotiations
for a new lease for the 'Theatre'.
1598 Christmas - Timber from the 'Theatre' taken to use for the building of a new theatre to
be called the Globe.
1599 The Globe Theatre is opened on Bankside.
1600 Richard Burbage is forced to lease out Blackfriars.
1601 Shakespeare's acting troupe, the Chamberlain's
Men, were commissioned to stage Richard II at the
1613 June 29, Fire at the Globe Theatre.
1614 Globe Theatre was rebuilt on original foundations,
this time the roof is tiled, not thatched.
1642 The English Civil War beaks out between the
Parliamentarians (Puritans) and the Royalsists.
1642 September 2 - Parliament issues an ordinance suppressing all stage plays.
1644 The Globe Theatre demolished by the Puritans. 15th April.
1660 The Restoration, and the demise in the power of the Puritans, sees the opening of the
theatres again. But the Globe Theatre is never re-built.
The History of the Globe
History of Elizabethan London Theaters
- including the Globe Theatre

The first proper theater as we know it
was called the Theatre, built at
Shoreditch, London in 1576 and the
owner was James Burbage. James
Burbage had obtained a 21 year lease
with permission to build the first
playhouse, aptly named ' The Theatre '.
Before this time plays were performed in the courtyard of inns or inn-yards, or sometimes, in the
houses of noblemen or in extreme circumstances on open ground. After the Theatre, further open air
playhouses ( theaters ) opened in the London area, including the Rose Theatre (1587), and the Hope
Theatre (1613). The most famous Elizabethan playhouse ( theater ) was the Globe Theatre (1599) built
by the company in which Shakespeare had a stake - now often referred to as the Shakespearean
Globe. The full history of the Elizabethan Theater with all its theaters, playhouses and inn-yards is
available by clicking the Elizabethan Theatre link which provides comprehensive information about
Elizabethan Inn-Yards, Theaters and Playhouses.

                                                     The Globe Theater, Bankside in Southwark,

                                                       The Globe, built by carpenter Peter Smith and
                                                       his workers, was the most magnificent theater
                                                       that London had ever seen and built in 1597 -
                                                       1598. This theatre could hold several thousand
                                                       people! The Globe Theatre didn’t just show
                                                       plays. It was also reputed to be a brothel and
                                                       gambling house. It was situated on the South
                                                       bank of the river Thames in Southwark. The old
                                                       Globe Theatre was a magnificent amphitheatre,
                                                       as shown in the picture at the top of the page.
                                                       Maps of London clearly show the architecture of
                                                       the Globe Theatre, and these have enabled an
                                                       approximate picture of the old Globe Theatre to
                                                       be drawn. Not one inside picture of the old
Globe Theatre is in existence, however, a picture of another amphitheatre, the Swan, has survived.
The amphitheatres were similar in design, so the picture of the Swan Theatre can be used a good guide
to the structure of the old Globe.
                           The Globe Theater Structure
The Structure of the Globe Theater
The structure of the Globe Theatre is a complex. Not one inside picture of the old Globe is in existence,
however, a picture of another amphitheatre, the Swan, has survived. The following picture of the
Swan by Johannes de Witt, a Dutch traveller, who visited the Swan is dated between 1596-1598. The
picture was accompanied by what is probably the single most important source of our knowledge of
the internal layout and structure of the Globe theatre. It consists of a diary note together with a sketch
of the internal layout of the Swan Theatre.The Elizabethan amphitheatres were similar in design to the
Globe Theatre, so the picture of the Swan can be used a good guide to the structure and layout of the
amphitheatres including the old Globe. We have also included a modern representation of the interior
of the Globe.

               For comprehensive facts and information visit the Globe Theatre Website

                                                             Johannes de Witt's sketch
                                                               of the Swan Theatre

                                                 No inside picture of the Globe Theatre has survived.
                                                        Use the sketch of the Swan Theatre as
                                                            a reference guide to visualising
                                                              the dimensions & structure
                                                            of the Shakespearean Theatre

               Modern Representation
                of the Globe Theatre

            Use the picture of the Theatre as
            a reference guide to visualising
                the interior & structure
                     of the Theatre
              The Structure and Design of the Globe Theatre

Globe Amphitheatre           Open arena design & structure - actors would also get wet if it rained!
Size of amphitheatres        Structure & Dimensions - Up to 100 feet in diameter

Varying Shapes               Octagonal structure , circular in shape having between 8 and 24 sides

                             Structure - Timber, nails, stone (flint), plaster and thatched roofs.
Globe Building materials
                             Later amphitheatres had tiled roofs
Globe Building Duration      6 months to build the structure
                             The open air arena, called the 'pit' or the 'yard', had a raised stage at
Overall design and structure one end and was surrounded by three tiers of roofed galleries with
of the Globe Theatre         balconies overlooking the back of the stage. The stage projected
                             halfway into the 'pit'
                             1500 plus audience capacity. Up to 3000 people would flock to the
Globe Audience Capacity
                             theatre and its grounds
The Grounds of the Globe Bustling with people & potential audience. Stalls selling merchandise
theatre                      and refreshments. Attracted non playgoers to the market
                             None . People relieved themselves outside. Sewage was buried in pits or
Toilet Facilities            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 Globe Structure - Usually one main entrance. Some later theatres had
theater                      external staircases in their structure to access the galleries
                             Above the main entrance of the Globe was a crest displaying Hercules
                             bearing the globe on his shoulders together with the motto "Totus
The crest and motto of the
                             mundus agit histrionem" (the whole world is a playhouse). This phrase
Globe Theatre
                             was slightly re-worded in the William Shakespeare play As You Like
                             It - "All the world’s a stage".
The 'Box '                   Playgoers put 1 penny in a box at the theatre entrance
The Stage Gallery above the Immediately above stage wall was the stage gallery that was used by
Stage Wall                   actors (Juliet's balcony) & the rich the nobility - known as ' Lord's
The ' Lord's rooms '         rooms.'
                             Considered the best seats in the ' house ' despite the poor view of the
                             back of the actors. The audience would have a good view of the Lords.
The ' Lord's rooms '
                             And the Lords were able to hear the actors clearly. The cost was 5
                             pence & cushioned seats were provided
                             Music was an extra effect added in the 1600's. The musicians would
                             also reside in the Lords rooms
                             There were additional balconies on the left and right of the ' lord's
                             rooms ' which were called the ' Gentlemen's rooms '. For rich patrons
The ' Gentlemen's rooms '
                             of the Globe theater - the cost was 4 pence & cushioned seats were
                             The stage wall structure contained at least two doors which lead to a
                             leading to small structure, back stage, called the ' Tiring House '. The
The ' Tiring House '
                             stage wall was covered by a curtain. The actors used this area to
                             change their attire
                             Above the ' Tiring House ' was a small house-like structure called the
The ' Hut '
                             'hut' complete with roof. Used as covered storage space for the troupe
                               Above the hut was a small tower with a flag pole. Flags were erected on
                               the day of the performance which sometimes displayed a picture
Elizabethan advertising        advertising the next play to be performed. Colour coding was also
                               - a black flag meant a tragedy , white a comedy and red a history.
                               The stage structure projected halfway into the ' yard ' where the
The ' yard '                   commoners (groundlings) paid 1 penny to stand to watch the play.
                               They would have crowded around the 3 sides of the stage structure.
Groundlings                    Commoners who paid 1 penny admission to stand to watch the play
                               During the height of the summer the groundlings were also referred to
' Stinkards '
                               as ' stinkards ' for obvious reasons
                               Two sets of stairs, either side if the theater structure . The stairways
Access to the Galleries        could also be external to the main structure to give maximum seating
Seats in the galleries - Three Structure - The seats in each of the three levels of galleries were tiered
levels                         with three rows of wooden benches, increasing in size towards the
                               back, following the shape of the building and structure. The galleries
                               were covered affording some shelter from the elements.

   The Globe Theater - the Event

   Days out at the Globe Theater would have been an exciting event. The grounds surrounding the Globe
   Theater would have been bustling with people. There would be Stalls selling merchandise and
   refreshments creating a market day atmosphere. Non playgoers would flock to the Globe Theater to
   go to the market stalls and 'soak in ' the holiday-like atmosphere. The Globe would have particularly
   attracted young people and they were many complaints of apprentices avoiding work in order to go to
   the theater. A trumpet was sounded to announce to people that the play was about to begin at the
   Globe Theatre in order for people to take their final places.
The Globe Theater - the Productions

The purpose built Globe theatre allowed stage productions to become quite sophisticated with the use
of massive props such as fully working canons, although it would of course had to be left on stage for
the entire performance of the play. Special effects at the Globe were also a spectacular addition at the
theater allowing for smoke effects, the firing of a real canon, fireworks (for dramatic battle scenes)
and spectacular 'flying' entrances from the rigging in the 'heavens'. The stage floor had trap-doors
allowing for additional surprising incidents. Music was another addition to the Globe productions. It
was no wonder that the Globe Theater and this form of Elizabethan entertainment was so popular.
The sight of Shakespearean actors apparently flying must have been quite amazing to the diiscerning
Elizabethan Theater audiences.

The Globe Theater - the Actors

                                                              The Globe Theater audience never had
                                                              time to get bored. In just two weeks
                                                              Elizabethan theaters could often present
                                                              “eleven performances of ten different
                                                              plays”. The Shakespearean Actors
                                                              generally only got their lines as the play
                                                              was in progress. Parts were often
                                                              allocated on the day of the performance.
                                                              Many times the actors didn't even get
                                                              their own lines. They did "cue acting ",
                                                              which meant that there was a person
                                                              backstage who whispered the lines to the
                                                              actor just before he was going to say
                                                              them. This rapid turnover led to another
                                                              technique called “ cue scripting ”, where
                                                              where each actor was given only his own
lines. The complete scene of the play was not explained to the actors until it was actually being
performed. This technique allowed for zero rehearsal time, thus enabling a fast turnover in terms of
new productions at the Globe Theater and a huge portfolio of different roles. There were no actresses.
Female characters had to be played by young boys. The acting profession was not a credible one and it
was unthinkable that any woman would appear in a play. Two of the most notable actors of the
Elizabethan era were Edward Alleyn and Will Kempe. Edward Alleyn became immensely wealthy due
to stake holding in a theatre company (the Admiral's men).

The Globe Theater audiences

The Elizabethan general public (the Commoners) referred to as
groundlings would pay 1 penny to stand in the 'Pit' of the Globe
Theater. The gentry would pay to sit in the galleries often using
cushions for comfort! Rich nobles could watch the play from a chair
set on the side of the Globe stage itself. Theatre performances were
held in the afternoon, because, of course, there was no artificial
lighting. Men and women attended plays, but often the prosperous
women would wear a mask to disguise their identity. The plays were
extremely popular and attracted vast audiences to the Globe. The
audiences only dropped during outbreaks of the bubonic plague,
which was unfortunately an all too common occurrence during the
Elizabethan era.
The End of the Globe Theater - the Puritans

In 1642, under the force of the Puritans, the English Parliament issued an ordinance suppressing all
stage plays in the theatres. The Puritans were a religious faction and the term came into general usage
at the end of the reign of Queen Mary I (Bloody Mary). A broad definition of the puritans is 'those
who wanted to completely change the Church of England, with its Roman Catholic type of structure
and traditions, for another reformed and plain church model'. This strict religious view spread to
encompass many social activities within England moving to a stricter code of conduct which deplored
any kind of finery or flippant behaviours. 1642 was a truly eventful year for England. The Puritans,
lead by Oliver Cromwell, who had been elected to Parliament came into total conflict with the
Royalists lead by King Charles I. The English Civil war broke out. In 1644 the Globe Theatre was
demolished by the Puritans. In 1647 Even stricter rules were passed regarding stage plays and
theatres. This culminated in 1648 when all playhouses were ordered to be pulled down. All players
were to be seized and whipped, and anyone caught attending a play to be fined five shillings. In 1649
the Civil War finally lead to the terrible execution of King Charles I . In 1653 Oliver Cromwell
becomes Lord Protector of England. In 1658 Cromwell dies and the power of the Puritan starts to
decline. In 1660 King Charles II is restored to the throne of England. With the Restoration of the
English monarchy and , and the demise in the power of the Puritans in 1660 the theatres finally open
again. But the Globe is never re-built.

The New Globe Theatre                                                      The New Globe Location

PRODUCED BY THE IV H 2006-2007 :
Agrusti D., Architetto M., Alastra A., Bascio A., Battiata B., Cardella D.,
Cardella V., Catalano L., Catania S., Di Fatta E., Diona A., Di Petro M.,
Garuccio M., Giacalone F., Incandela F., La Torre M., Maceli G., Mendola G.,
Peraino A., Sangiuseppe D., Schifano M., Silvestro F., Tranchida G., Virgilio C.

With the collaboration of the Teacher Sinatra Anna.

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