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William Shakespeare

Chapter 5 - Creating a Professional Theatre

Melissa Vaughan-Kleppel

on 5 September 2015

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Transcript of William Shakespeare


Shakespearean Era
The Shakespearean Era overlaps two historic Royal periods.
The Elizabethan Era lasted from 1558 - 1603.
The Jacobean Era lasted from 1603 - 1625.
Shakespeare began his career in theatre around 1585 and worked until his death in 1616.
The Players
Actors in this period worked in troupes or companies. Which meant they also worked as playwrights and on all production elements.
All actors of this time were men.
Acting was considered a masterless skill and therefore did not have a guild.

The Plays
Shakespeare wrote a total of 37 plays and hundreds of Sonnets
These plays are generally broken down into three categories: Tragedy, Comedy, and Histories
Shakespeare wrote in blank verse and iambic pentameter
After the Middle Ages there came a period of great rebirth in the arts and science. Scholars and artists began to look back to the Classical era.
The English Decree of 1558 outlawed plays on religious or political issues.
Why do you think this happened?
Church and State withdrew support and theatre became a
commercial enterprise.
The Companies
Always 2-4 companies active in London at all times between the 1580s - 1642
They changed the bill everyday
There was a new play every 17 days
Average life of a play was only 10 performances
Most companies had a patron
Shakespeare's company was The Lord Chamberlain's Men, and later became The King's Men
Most companies had their own theatre, Shakespeare's was The Globe
The Performances
The set was generally the stage, so we they had "spoken decor"
Most characters wore contemporary clothes, with elements added to suggest different eras or cultures.
The lighting was natural as the performances took place outdoors.
There was a large amount of music and sound effects in these plays
Attending the Theatre
The even would be rowdy and more like a sporting event.
There would be people selling concessions milling about while the play was being performed.
There would be no intermission.
The cheapest seats or the penny seats were in the yard or pit. The people that sat there were called the groundlings.
Aristocracy sat in the galleries or the boxs
The English Theatres were closed in 1642 due to the Civil War, and were not opened up again until 1660.

The only other time the English Theatres closed for an extended time was in the summer 1592. Why?
Full transcript