This was probably at the low end of the range, though even the best writers could not demand too much more. A playwright, working alone, could generally produce two plays a year at most; in the s Richard Brome signed a contract with the Salisbury Court Theatre to supply three plays a year, but found himself unable to meet the workload. Shakespeare produced fewer than 40 solo plays in a career that spanned more than two decades; he was financially successful because he was an actor and, most importantly, a shareholder in the company for which he acted and in the theatres they used.
Ben Jonson achieved success as a purveyor of Court masques, and was talented at playing the patronage game that was an important part of the social and economic life of the era. Those who were playwrights pure and simple fared far less well; the biographies of early figures like George Peele and Robert Greene, and later ones like Brome and Philip Massinger, are marked by financial uncertainty, struggle, and poverty. Playwrights dealt with the natural limitation on their productivity by combining into teams of two, three, four, and even five to generate play texts; the majority of plays written in this era were collaborations, and the solo artists who generally eschewed collaborative efforts, like Jonson and Shakespeare, were the exceptions to the rule.
Dividing the work, of course, meant dividing the income; but the arrangement seems to have functioned well enough to have made it worthwhile. The truism that says, diversify your investments, may have worked for the Elizabethan play market as for the modern stock market. Most playwrights, like Shakespeare for example, wrote in verse. Genres of the period included the history play, which depicted English or European history.
History plays dealt with more recent events, like A Larum for London which dramatizes the sack of Antwerp in Tragedy was an amazingly popular genre.
Elizabethan Playhouses, Actors, and Audiences
Comedies were common, too. A subgenre developed in this period was the city comedy, which deals satirically with life in London after the fashion of Roman New Comedy. Though marginalised, the older genres like pastoral The Faithful Shepherdess , , and even the morality play Four Plays in One , ca. After about , the new hybrid subgenre of the tragicomedyenjoyed an efflorescence, as did the masque throughout the reigns of the first two Stuart kings, James I and Charles I.
A little over plays were published in the period as a whole, most commonly in individual quarto editions.
Through much of the modern era, it was thought that play texts were popular items among Renaissance readers that provided healthy profits for the stationers who printed and sold them. By the turn of the 21st century, the climate of scholarly opinion shifted somewhat on this belief: some contemporary researchers argue that publishing plays was a risky and marginal business—though this conclusion has been disputed by others.
Victoria and Albert Museum
Politically, playwrights and actors were clients of the monarchy and aristocracy, and most supported the Royalist cause. After , during the English Civil War and the ensuing Interregnum English Commonwealth , even after the Puritan mandated banning of the performance of plays, theatrical activity which continued English Renaissance theatre could be seen to some extent, e.
The theatres were not closed.
- Contemporary theater was very different for audiences.
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- The acting companies.
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The buildings were used for purposes other than staging plays. The theatres started again performing many of the plays of the previous era, though often in adapted forms; new genres of Restoration comedy and spectacle soon evolved, giving English theatre of the later seventeenth century its distinctive character. Skip to main content.
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Search for:. English Renaissance Theatre English Renaissance theatre , also known as early modern English theatre , or commonly as Elizabethan theatre , refers to the theatre of England between and Female roles were thus played by young boys, before their voices changed in puberty. Prior to his era, the theater in England was considered to be a disreputable pastime. It was frowned upon by Puritan authorities, who were worried that it might distract people from their religious teachings.
During the reign of Elizabeth I , theaters were still banned within the city walls of London even though the Queen enjoyed the theater and frequently attended performances in person. The place of theater in Shakespeare's time widely diverged from its perceived role today as high culture reserved for the educated, upper classes. They would perform around six different plays each week, which could only be rehearsed a few times before the performance.
There was no separate stage crew, as theater companies have today. Every actor and stagehand helped to make costumes, props, and scenery. The Elizabethan acting profession worked on an apprentice system and therefore was strictly hierarchical. Playwrights themselves had to rise up through the ranks. Elizabethan Age. Age of Exploration. Elizabethan Dictionary. The Spanish Armada. Map showing the location of London Elizabethan Theatres - The Inn-yards, Amphitheatres and Playhouses A useful Elizabethan London Map has been provided in the Elizabethan Theatre section in which all of the famous Elizabethan theatres have been highlighted.
Elizabethan Theatre Sections Elizabethan Theatres. James Burbage.
Elizabethan Theatre Facts. Elizabethan Theatre Costume. Sites and Map of London Elizabethan Theatres. Elizabethan Theatre History Timeline. Elizabethan Plays and Playwrights. Elizabethan Inn-Yards. Elizabethan Amphitheatre. Elizabethan Playhouses. Elizabethan Acting Troupes.
Elizabethan Theatre Audiences. Elizabethan Classics. The Globe Theatre. Elizabethan Actors.
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Elizabethan Era - Free Educational Resource. Author Referencing Information The contents of www. The referencing protocol is suggested as follows: Alchin, L.
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