Interesting information about the Elizabethan Playhouses during the life and times of
William Shakespeare and the Globe Theatre
An Elizabethan Playhouse was a small, private, indoor hall. The Elizabethan playhouse was designed to stage plays in an indoor environment. The great open theatres only produced plays during the summer months. It made good business sense to design an indoor theatre which would comfortable house audiences during the winter. The indoor theatres called playhouses were born ! Playhouses were open to anyone who could pay but were more expensive with generally more select audiences. It was not long before a vast amount of plays were being produced indoors in the Elizabethan playhouses. The playhouses helped the acting troupes considerably as playhouses allowed for an all year round profession, not one restricted to the summer at the mercy of the English weather. Playhouses also allowed for luxury and comfort for courtiers and the nobility when watching a play thus encouraging wealthy and powerful clientele - heating was of real benefit. Many plays were produced in buildings with Great Halls which were suitable for the purpose of staging plays. The Gray's Inn and Whitehall were two such theatres and were easily converted into playhouses. Purpose built playhouses were also specifically built such as the Salisbury Court playhouse great examples of the Elizabethan Playhouses. The Audience capacity of Elizabethan playhouses was up to 500 people.
Interesting Facts and Information about Elizabethan Playhouses
The following interesting facts and information provide a fascinating insight into Elizabethan Playhouses:
- Elizabethan playhouses were suitable for winter and evening productions
- The plays produced at Elizabethan playhouses were selected to suit the indoor venues - the emphasis was on the words of the play rather than noisy special effects which were strong features of the open air theatres. The Playhouses were more comfortable and luxurious than other theatres
- Admittance to the Playhouses were more expensive than the other types of Elizabethan theatres. Attending a public theatre performance would cost between 1 to 3 pennies, but admission to a private, indoor, theatre cost between 2 to 26 pennies
- The cost prohibited the attendance of most common folk at the Elizabethan Playhouses
- Everyone was given a seat in the Elizabethan playhouses- the higher the price of admission, the more comfortable the seat was
- The indoor Elizabethan Playhouses were lighted by candles so performances could be staged in the evening and this use of candles led to the introduction of ' intervals ' when burnt-down candles were replaced
- Food and drink was served, or sold, during the intervals
- Music and songs was strongly featured at the Elizabethan playhouses as the acoustics of indoor theatres lended themselves to this
- Beautiful scenery were introduced - as this was not open to the open air elements this could be re-used over and over again and the costumes tended to be quite sumptuous
Facts and information about Elizabethan Playhouses
Interesting Facts and information about the development of the Elizabethan Playhousess. Additional details, facts and information about the Elizabethan Theatre can be accessed via the Globe Theatre Sitemap.
Elizabethan Inn yards
- Interesting Facts and information about Elizabethan Playhouses
- People and events - Elizabethan Playhouses
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