The theatre is a type of art, which was born from communication with thegods, rituals for various cults and to entertain people in their free time.Theatre was also the place where people got a political and social education,it was also used as a place of civic and philosophical debates and hadfunctioned as a spiritual purification.
They have been designed as temples ofart and they were seeking to remove their audience from everyday concerns andto send them in some virtual reality but the function of the theatre since theearly beginnings is to entertain people. Theatre brings stories and performancesto amuse the public and with stories itbrings pleasure. This makes it an important part of life for some people andfor theatre to complete its purpose, it needs space. Theatres have been locatedeverywhere, from the most elegant residential areas to working-class neighborhoodsso it is available for everyone. Normallynowadays we imagine theatre as a building that has a architectural spacedesigned for performances , but in medieval times there are examples wheretheatres existed as an important part of urban life and they didn’t have anyspecific architectural elements devoted for its use. In 1597 Cuthbert Burbagehad inherited a theatre in London which was the first of its type but it wasjust called The Theatre. Using this building as a base and adding somematerials in the theater it became the most impressive theatre which was builtin 1597-1598. This theatre is also called as The Shakespeare globe theatre,because it was a place where Shakespeare staged most of his greatest plays.
Plays in the globe theatre usually started at three o’clock. There were threetypes of flags which were hang on the flag mast and used to indicate what typeof play was to be played. Red was for history , white for comedy and the blackflag would indicate that tragedy it was a day for tragedy usually that playwould include death scenes. The first Folio was published in 1623 and was acollection of 36 plays by Shakespeare.
None of his plays were published when hewas alive but written plays by Shakespeare were performed at the globe theatre.A tourist called Thomas Platter said in his diary that he had witnessed anamazing performance on Julius Cesar, which was performed by 15 actors. Also manynotable plays were performed during 1600-1613 starting with hamlet and endingwith Henry VIII. Also a lost play of Shakespeare called Cardenio should havebeen played in 1612.
This period was very harsh for people in Britain and deathwas a part of everyday life . People were searching for relief from this realityand found it in the theatre and Elizabeth was one of those people. She attended manyplays and other forms of entertainment so theatre became a vital part of Elizabethanculture. The audience wanted more and more plays and shakespear started towrite more smooth and entertaining plays that time.
The plays were unlike today,because there were no backdrops, acoustics were bad and actors had to shouttheir lines so everyone could hear them. Because of this viewer’s and theirimagination were more involved in plays and spectators where other interestingaspect. The theatre could find room for 3 thousand people so It was open foreveryone.
People of all status came in this theatre, but mostly it were poorpeople. They paid 1 Penny and could stand in the yard, but wealthier peoplepayed 2-3 pennys for seats. There were also 3 circular galleries and they werethe most comfortable and showed the status of a person and the price was about5-6 pennys. Because it was almost always full with people it caused someproblems, for example people didn’t bath in Elizabethan times and diseases couldbe spread easily in this circumstances so tuberculosis and other diseases havekilled a big amount of people.
Inside the theatre was very differentthan one might expect. Most of the audience were seating very close to eachother the stench was quite horrendous that’s why all the Holes in the roof overthe stage were designed to let more wind in. Without an overhead roof, such aview was exposed, but with the stage set at eye level some 5 feet off theground, you got the closest view in the house. The audience behaviour were verybizarre in theatre and they reacted in different ways as for example throughoutplays, audiences ate, drank, spat, argued, booed, fought, and even threw fruitat the actors. In 1613, an immense tragedy happened during a performance ofHenry VIII. The thatched roof caught on fire very quickly and burned to theground.
The spectators escaped safely, with some exception of one man who wasbadly burned. In the Elizabethan times fire was e real problem because almostevery building was constructed by wood and thatch. Oil lamps or candles wereused for light and usually they caused lot of accidents. Also The draperies andthatched roofs were very dry and burned like very fast, which was the case inThe Globe Theatre. Fire extinguishers or fire departments were a actualdifficulty at the time, so the normal practice was to get leather fire buckets,fill them with water, and dump them on the blaze. In 1614 anew Globe Theatrewas rebuilt shortly before Shakespeare’s death (referred to as Globe 2). Thistime, the construction of the new globe was different.
It had a tile roof andmost importantly, fire exits. It never stood up to the figure of the originalGlobe, but remained as a memory of William Shakespeare and his theatre. In1642, under a violent actions used by the puritan, British parliaments orderedto stop all the theatrical plays. The Puritans were a religious group and theterm came into general usage at the end of the reign of Queen Mary I (BloodyMary). Puritans meant ‘those who wanted to completely change the Church ofEngland, with its Roman Catholic type of structure and traditions, for anotherreformed and plain church model’.
This was a strict religious mentality whichincreased in many activities in England and developed superficial behaviour bymoving to a stricter cod. In 1644 the Puritans demolished the globe theatre.