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.
The classic Greek andRoman architecture was admired by Elizabeth and you could really see theinfluence in the great columns framed in the entrances of the Elizabethanhouses. The Globe Theatre was framed with massive upright, vertical timbers,which they were supported by diagonal timbers. The wattle walls were daubedwith mortar and whitewash was then applied.
This process resulted in verytypical style of black and white half of the Elizabethan era. With woodarchitecture two great columns were included in the architecture of theElizabethan theatres which were called ‘Herculean’ columns or pillars. Thesecolumns were painted to resemble marble.
Built to the engineering standards of1599, the structure of the famous globe theatre was like a large circularamphitheatre, three stories high. The circular structure was covered by a smallhatched roof and it gave the globe theatre an appearance of an ancient Greekauditorium where the centre was uncovered. The main stage that was located inthe center of the theatre, pushed up next to the interior side, was extended by5 feet high.
At the back of this were the changing rooms for all the actors andfor them to get back into the stage, they would come out from the two sidedoors at the stage level. Above this stage was a balcony, flanked by twofurther balconies serving as playhouse boxes. On the third level there was asmall structure supported by columns, were all the announcements were made andthe playhouse’s flag would often fly, advertising plays there were currentlybeing performed. Again like Greek auditorium three rows of seating that formedcircular bands by wrapping around the interior spaces of the playhouse. Thesegalleries cost more, but they offered a better comfort of seating. Those thatwere out in the open courtyard had to stand in the rain or shine through whatcould be a three hour performance, All seats were of approximately equalimportance, they have been cited as a model of democratic seating and the stagewas provided with multiple perspectives to make each of the spectators feel asimportant as a prince.