4. How did theater evolve and change from Elizabethan times to now?

A lot in theater has evolved over the years from Elizabethan times to present day. Things that have changed are:
  • costumes-The time allotted to create a play in Elizabethan times was very shot. This made costumes very time consuming for the people who had to complete them in such a short time period . Yet even though time was tight, people still made intricate and delicate costumes. When more time is allotted to create costumes, the quality and accuracy increases. In today's theaters, costumes are very realistic and are quality made. With more time, more costumes can be made which fits the high number of casts members in plays today. Also a number of new costumes can be created by using technology we posses today.
  • technical aspects-With technology advances, technical aspects of theaters have changed. Today many more sounds, lighting, projections, and other aspects have changed to make the theater more enjoyable. Sounds can be more controlled and even more complex in today's theaters. Lighting has also improved which allows different modes to be felt and different scenes to be made. Projections on curtains and floors were not possible in the Elizabethan times, but they are today. Special effects such as fog or smoke and other aspects have been improved.
  • props-In Elizabethan times props were very small and seemingly insignificant to plays because the actors lines where what made the play interesting. Props only made up for what actors could not express in words such as fights. In present day theater however, props have become much more advanced and elaborate. Productions have used technology to create wonderful scenery and props.
  • types of plays-Plays in from Elizabethan times have not completely vanished from present day productions. However, the variety of plays have increased. Now not only are their plays with fighting scenes but also romantic plays and comedies have been created.
  • the actually theater-Theater styles have changed since Elizabethan times.Open air theaters are not used a lot today. Also the comfort of theaters have been enhanced from seats to views of the stage. Now wherever a person sits, the stage is completely viewable making the experience more enjoyable.
  • rehearsals and skills-In Elizabethan times actors had only a few days to prepare for big productions compared to present day where several weeks to months are used to rehearse plays. This meant before you could be in plays your skills had to be in tip top shape. By having highly trained actors,more time could be used on the actual production. Fencing also has changed since Elizabethan times because not every single person in the business knows how to fence. However, being able to be heard clearly has not changed because the audience not only watches the play, but they also listen to the production
  • actors and actresses- In Elizabethan times, there were only male actors. If there was a female role, males played that role. Today both males and females are part of plays. Also instead of having a small cast like in Elizabethan times, casts today are rather large because more people are needed to run props, technology, hair, makeup, costumes, and many more aspects that bring a production together.
Although the aspects of theaters have changed since Elizabethan times, the use of plays as entertainment have not.


"Elizabethan Period." Web. 18 Feb. 2010. <http://members.fortunecity.es/fabianvillegas/drama/elizabethan.htm>.

"Elizabethan Theatres." Elizabethan Era. Web. 18 Feb. 2010. <http://www.elizabethan-era.org.uk/elizabethan-theatres.htm>.

"Stage Design and Theatre TechnologTheatre Resources from Artslynx." Artslynx International Dance Music Visual Arts Theatre Resources. Web. 19 Feb. 2010. <http://www.artslynx.org/theatre/design.htm>.

What did people do for entertainment in Elizabethan London? Who would you expect to find at the theater?


external image moz-screenshot.pngEntertainment-

  • Skittles would be like bowling.
  • Rounders was a game similar to what we would call baseball today.
  • Gameball was Elizabethan football, but was very rough.
  • Hunting showed off your horse, weapons, and clothing. It was a sport, as well as for food. Young, active men worked in teams to hunt ferocious boars.
  • Hawking was only for rich people, because the poor could not afford afford birds.
  • Only nobles were allowed to attend or host a jousting tournament. Knights fought each other with a long spear, trying to knock the opponent of their horse.
  • Two teams from different cities would compete in soccer. They would meet at the borderline and the object of the game was to get the ball back to your side in any way possible.


Theater audiences included everyone- both the lower class and the upper class. The theaters could hold up to 1500 people , but would go as high as 3,000, including the people who crowded outside. Prices were determined by the comfort of the seats. Commoners would put a penny in a box upon entrance, hence the term "Box Office." Both men and women attended plays, but rich women would often wear a mask to disguise their identity.


"Elizabethan Theatre Audiences." Elizabethan Era. Web. 17 Feb. 2010. <http://www.elizabethan-era.org.uk/elizabethan-theatre-audiences.htm>.

Find out about the original Globe Theatre - what happened to it? What other theaters were operating in London?

The Globe Theater

The Second GLobe Theater, known as Globe 2
The Globe Theater was the most magnificent amphitheater in the sixteenth century.
-It was built in London, England by Peter Smith from 1597-1598.

-It could seat several thousand people and was a huge success in letting audiences view some of Shakespeare's amazing plays.

-The theater got so much money that rivalry between it and other theaters broke out.

-Theater producers sent their actors to the Globe Theater and took notes on the plays and actors!-Other theaters in London at the time were The Rose Theater and The Hope Theater. However, these theaters didn't get as much business as the Globe Theater did.

-The main reason that the Globe Theater was built was to make stage productions become acquainted with the use of props, such as canons and fireworks. In fact, in 1613, the Globe Theater burned to the ground when a canon loaded with gunpowder caught fire.

-A year later, Globe Theater 2 opened and business resumed.

The Old Globe Theater History. The William Shakespeare Site. William Shakespeare Info. 2005. 2-17-10
http://www.william-shakespeare.info/william-shakespeare-globe-theatre.htm http://www.andreas-praefcke.de/carthalia/uk/uk_london_globe1599.htm

What was The Lord Chamberlain's Company (later The Kings Men)? What was Shakespeare's association with it?

The Lord Chamberlain's Company

William Kemp, clown of the Lord Chamberlain's Men
In its time, the Lord Chamberlain's Company was one of the most successful acting companies in London. The company was formed in 1564 under Lord Strange. When Lord Strange died in 1594, the companies patron became Henry Cary, the Lord Chamberlain. The company performed at the Theater, the Curtain, and the Globe after it was built. In 1600 they were the leading theatrical company and performed successfully until 1642 when the theatres were closed by parliament. In 1603 the Lord Chamberlain's Company became the King's Men.
William Shakespeare is believed to one of the first members of the company. Shakespeare wrote many plays for the company including Hamlet and Romeo and
Juliet. Shakespeare also acted in some of Ben Jonson's play and there are legends that he played the ghost in Hamlet and that he might have acted as Adam in As You Like It. Shakespeare was very involved with the acting compny known as the Chamberlain's Company and later the King's Men.


Best, Michael. Shakespeare's Life and Times . Internet Shakespeare Editions, University of Victoria: Victoria, BC, 2001-2005. http://internetshakespeare.uvic.ca/Library/SLT/stage/chamberlainsmen.html . Visited February 17, 2010.
Jokinen, Anniina. "Luminarium Encyclopedia. The Lord Chamberlain's Men." Luminarium: Anthology of English Literature . Anniina Jokinen, 16 Apr. 2009. Web. 17 Feb. 2010. http://www.luminarium.org/encyclopedia/chamberlainsmen.htm .

What technical aspects of theater were different? How did those elements affect the written text of the play?

An Elizabethan Theater

The technical aspects of theater--such as design, stage lighting, sound elements, props, and costumes--were much different in Elizabethan times. Props were usually small to allow the actors to move around the stage easily. Costumes were very important. Most of the time, they were contemporary, with the exception of supernatural characters and conventional costumes (for example, Turks, Spaniards, and animals). Acting troupes in Shakespeare's time were all males. Even female roles were played by males. Some members of the troupe--called "householders"--actually owned their own theater buildings. There were two kinds of theaters: outdoor public playhouses and private indoor theaters. Private theaters cost more, were smaller, and had a more select audience. These were used in the colder, snowy months. Unlike today, many performances took place at outdoor theaters, assuming the weather was ideal. There were nine outdoor theaters built between 1576 and 1642. Unlike today's movie theaters, the stage was surrounded by the audience on three sides. An outdoor theater had a roofed stage supported by columns. Actors could "fly" across the stage with cranes and ropes. There were traps in the floor for special effects like smoke and fire. At the rear of the stage was a "Tiring House", where actors could change. Above this was a hut for equipment and machinery. Unlike today, where bulletin boards are used to display current movies, there were flags to indicate performance day. Another difference was that "backstage" was used much more. For instance, for the Capulets' tomb in Romeo and Juliet or for Desdemona's bedroom; the balcony, for Juliet's bedroom; and a tradoor to the space below the stage would be Ophelia's grave. As for sound effects, there would be realistic noises coming from the ceiling or underneath the stage. Today, elaborate secenry, props or computer-generated imagery can set a scene, strike a mood, or introduce and tell us something about a character. In Shakespeare's time, he had to convey these things through the written text. For example, since plays always took place in natural light, he had to establish night and day through the script.

"Costumes and Sets in Shakespearean Theatre". Online Shakespeare. February 17, 2010 http://www.onlineshakespeare.com/performances.htm .

Eric W. , Trumball. "The Elizabethan Theatre". Nova. February 17, 2010 http://novaonline.nvcc.edu/eli/spd130et/elizab.htm#elt.