22 April 2014
The Globe Theatre
Theatres became very popular at the start of the Elizabethan era. The most well known theatre is the Old Globe Theatre. The Globe came to be a successful and enjoyable business, not only for the owners, but for the viewers; it was a thriving company until its end in 1642. The Globe Theater is an important part of history because it is associated with well known playwright William Shakespeare. The theater was built by the Lord Chamberlain's Men in 1599. They were Shakespeare's playing company. It was a three story open air theater that was capable of holding up to 3,000 spectators. The theater burned down in on June 29, 1613. A new Globe Theater was rebuilt on the same property in 1614 and closed down in 1642 (Mabillard). In the 16th century, plays started to evolve. These developments lead to the construction of a variety of theatres. Before theatres came to be, plays were performed on traveling stages. The man who first thought of creating a permanent theatre was James Burbage (Hodges 54). As playhouses started to become well-liked more structures began to be built. One of the most famous of the theatres was the Old Globe Theatre. The Globe Theatre was built by Peter Smith and his employees in 1597-1598. The theatre could hold thousands of people, all of which were from diverse backgrounds. It was not just used for plays, but for gambling and other events as well. Many people enjoyed going to the theatre in this time period because it was a popular and common gathering place among the people and villages. This playhouse held most of William Shakespeare’s plays. The theatre lasted sixteen years, and was eventually burnt down in 1613, but later rebuilt (Mabillard). The Old Globe Theatre was located in the suburb of Southwark in London, England. The structure of the building was a round or polygonal shape on both the exterior and interior. It was a massive building that could hold up to three thousand spectators. When a new play came to the theatre it was bustling with people. Markets were set up for selling merchandise and refreshments. Having these markets created a profit to the business of the theatre. Not only would people pay for those things at the market, but to see the plays as well. The audiences would have to pay one penny or more depending on where they wanted to be seated. Wealthier people sat up top, while the commoners would sit on the bottom, or even stand. There was no discrimination when it came to who went and saw the plays. Segregation did take place between the affluent and the lower class but it was not uncommon. The profit of the theatre would be shared between members of the Globe, one of them being William Shakespeare. Each person would receive ten percent of the earnings. The theatre business was a popular and demanding industry during the Elizabethan time period (Alchin). During the Elizabethan era there were not many ways to advertise and promote the plays being held in the theatres, or more commonly known as, playhouses. To announce that plays were going on in the Globe, flags were raised on a tower above the theatre. Color coding was also used to identify what type of play was in performance such as tragedy, comedy, or historical. Color coding was an excellent way to inform the people of the genre of the show that would play. The Globe theatre had large audiences at every show because no one was restricted from entering. An example of this would be that the general public or commoners could pay to watch the play just as well as the more wealthy nobles. This was an intelligent way to create more revenue. The affluent viewers of the plays would often pay more to sit in the galleries, while the commoners would stand in the pit of the Globe Theatre. The variation of the classes of the audience led to a huge success of the Globe theatre and a large popular following (Alchin). Devastation struck the Globe during a performance...
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