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Intro to Shakespeare
Transcript of Intro to Shakespeare
Who is Shakespeare?
William Shakespeare is one of the world's greatest writers. He wrote plays for the theatre. He wrote poetry too.
Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, in England. Later he went to London, to be an actor. But he became famous for writing plays. His friends said he was the best writer of his time. Most people now say he was the best of all time.
Plays in Shakespeare's time
A new theatre
Shakespeare was a member of an Elizabethean Theatre Troupe, called the Lord Chamberlain's Men. In 1598, they built a new theatre. It was round. They called it the Globe. The Globe was open to the sky. A flag was raised to show a play was about to begin. Plays began at 2 in the afternoon.
What were theatres like?
Some people stood in front of the stage. Others had seats. Rich men paid 12 pennies (one shilling) to sit on the stage. The audience shouted and clapped, laughed and booed.
Over the stage was a roof, to keep off the rain. Actors could be lowered from the roof on wires. There was a trap door in the stage too. So actors could pop up to surprise the audience.
The new Globe
The modern Globe Theatre in London is a replica (copy) of Shakespeare's Globe. People can watch plays just as people did in Shakespeare's day.
Why Did Shakespeare Go to London?
London was the biggest city in England, though much smaller than today. London had markets, shops, taverns (inns), churches and palaces. The River Thames was busy with ships.
London was where poor people went hoping to make their fortunes. And London had theatres!
London's first theatre or 'playhouse' opened in 1576. By 1590, there were several theatres, such as the Rose, the Theatre and the Curtain.
Shakespeare became an actor before he started writing his plays.
Actors in Shakespeare's day
Actors in Shakespeare's time took part in Elizabethan Theatre Troupes, which were groups of actors and players that worked together to perform plays. There were
no women actors
in the theatre troupes. Women's parts were played by boys. For a time, child actors were more popular than grown-actors.
Actors wore the clothes of the day, with wigs and make up. Shakespeare is said to have played the Ghost in his play
Click on the video clip to see an example of the theatre costumes and the male actors in female roles!
Why is Shakespeare so famous?
Shakespeare lived more than 400 years ago. Yet people still go to see his plays.
Click on the video links to see how Shakespeare had an impact on language and art today!
What were some of Shakespeare's most famous plays?