Elizabethan Theatre

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The Elizabethan Theatre

At the start, the plays were performed in the courtyard of Inns (Inn-yards). Which were very similar to the Greek and Roman amphitheatres. The plays were performed outdoors.

Theatre was one of the most profitable businesses of that time, similar to what the cinema has been during the 20th century, for this reason several playhouses were built. In some other cases, the plays were also performed in temporary stages. Playhouses were also used for gambling.

Theatres were only permitted in London city limits. The most popular venues were the Globe, the Theatre, Newington Butts, the Curtain Elizabethan Theatre, the Rose Theatre, the Swan Theatre, the Fortune Elizabethan Theatre, the Boars Head, the Bear Garden, the Bull Ring and the Hope Elizabethan Theatre. Women were not allowed to perform in the play and because of that, young boys used to play the female roles.

The venues were capable of hosting up to 3000 people at once. Queen Elizabeth loved watching plays, but she would only attend to those performed in indoor playhouses. She did not go to any of the amphitheatres.

The shape of the theatres was between octagonal and circular, between eight and twenty-four sides. The open air of the amphitheatre was called the pit or the yard. The stage was half way into the pit. The Hope theatre for example, had a raised stage on one end, surrounded by three galleries with roof and balconies that overlooked the back of the stage. There was no curtain or scenery, so the indication of where scene occurred was built into the words of the play. The audience had to pay special attention to the words in the play to know what was happening.

The Acting Style during the Elizabethan period can be classified as melodramatic. The exaggerated display of emotions and the general conception of the characters are main characteristics of this. The costumes were expensive and a symbol of luxury and even when normal people were not allowed to use fancy...
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