The theatre is a type of art, which was born from communication with the gods, 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 had functioned as a spiritual purification. They have been designed as temples of art and they were seeking to remove their audience from everyday concerns and to send them in some virtual reality but the function of the theatre since the early beginnings is to entertain people.
Theatre brings stories and performances to amuse the public and with stories it brings pleasure. This makes it an important part of life for some people and for theatre to complete its purpose, it needs space. Theatres have been located everywhere, from the most elegant residential areas to working-class neighborhoods so it is available for everyone.
Normally nowadays we imagine theatre as a building that has a architectural space designed for performances , but in medieval times there are examples where theatres existed as an important part of urban life and they didn’t have any specific architectural elements devoted for its use. In 1597 Cuthbert Burbage had inherited a theatre in London which was the first of its type but it was just called The Theatre. Using this building as a base and adding some materials in the theater it became the most impressive theatre which was built in 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 three types of flags which were hang on the flag mast and used to indicate what type of play was to be played. Red was for history , white for comedy and the black flag would indicate that tragedy it was a day for tragedy usually that play would include death scenes. The first Folio was published in 1623 and was a collection of 36 plays by Shakespeare. None of his plays were published when he was 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 an amazing performance on Julius Cesar, which was performed by 15 actors. Also many notable plays were performed during 1600-1613 starting with hamlet and ending with Henry VIII.
Also a lost play of Shakespeare called Cardenio should have been played in 1612. This period was very harsh for people in Britain and death was a part of everyday life . People were searching for relief from this reality and found it in the theatre and Elizabeth was one of those people. She attended many plays and other forms of entertainment so theatre became a vital part of Elizabethan culture.
The audience wanted more and more plays and shakespear started to write more smooth and entertaining plays that time. The plays were unlike today, because there were no backdrops, acoustics were bad and actors had to shout their lines so everyone could hear them. Because of this viewer’s and their imagination were more involved in plays and spectators where other interesting aspect.
The theatre could find room for 3 thousand people so It was open for everyone. People of all status came in this theatre, but mostly it were poor people. They paid 1 Penny and could stand in the yard, but wealthier people payed 2-3 pennys for seats. There were also 3 circular galleries and they were the most comfortable and showed the status of a person and the price was about 5-6 pennys. Because it was almost always full with people it caused some problems, for example people didn’t bath in Elizabethan times and diseases could be spread easily in this circumstances so tuberculosis and other diseases have killed a big amount of people. Inside the theatre was very different than one might expect. Most of the audience were seating very close to each other the stench was quite horrendous that’s why all the Holes in the roof over the stage were designed to let more wind in.
Without an overhead roof, such a view was exposed, but with the stage set at eye level some 5 feet off the ground, you got the closest view in the house. The audience behaviour were very bizarre in theatre and they reacted in different ways as for example throughout plays, audiences ate, drank, spat, argued, booed, fought, and even threw fruit at the actors. In 1613, an immense tragedy happened during a performance of Henry VIII. The thatched roof caught on fire very quickly and burned to the ground. The spectators escaped safely, with some exception of one man who was badly burned. In the Elizabethan times fire was e real problem because almost every building was constructed by wood and thatch.
Oil lamps or candles were used for light and usually they caused lot of accidents. Also The draperies and thatched roofs were very dry and burned like very fast, which was the case in The Globe Theatre. Fire extinguishers or fire departments were a actual difficulty 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 Theatre was rebuilt shortly before Shakespeare’s death (referred to as Globe 2). This time, the construction of the new globe was different.
It had a tile roof and most importantly, fire exits. It never stood up to the figure of the original Globe, but remained as a memory of William Shakespeare and his theatre. In 1642, under a violent actions used by the puritan, British parliaments ordered to stop all the theatrical plays. The Puritans were a religious group and the term came into general usage at the end of the reign of Queen Mary I (Bloody Mary). Puritans meant ‘those who wanted to completely change the Church of England, with its Roman Catholic type of structure and traditions, for another reformed and plain church model’. This was a strict religious mentality which increased in many activities in England and developed superficial behaviour by moving to a stricter cod. In 1644 the Puritans demolished the globe theatre.
One of the most notable thing of the globe theatre is its architecture. The architecture of the theaters in medieval period was influenced by roman and greek and we can see that the globe theatre’s has a similar architecture to an amphitheater. Elizabeth loved roman and Greek architecture which we can see in face of the columns in the entrances of her houses . he Globe Theatre was framed with massive upright, vertical timbers, which they were supported by diagonal timbers.
The wattle walls were daubed with mortar and whitewash was then applied. This process resulted in very typical style of black and white half of the Elizabethan era. With wood architecture two great columns were included in the architecture of the Elizabethan theatres which were called ‘Herculean’ columns or pillars. These columns were painted to resemble marble. Based on John Ore’s information we know the dimensions of the original globe.Diameter: 100 ft surface to surface / 99 ft centre to centre Yard: 70 ft between post centers / 69 ft surface to surface Stage: 49 ft 6 inches across Stage height: 5 feet.
Gallery Depth: 15 ft 6 inches overall / 15 ft 6 inches between post centers Overall height: 36 ft. 6 in. Overall heights from floor to floor: 15 ft. 6 in., 11 ft. 3 in. and 9 ft.
9 in. to the plates. Balcony floor: 18 ft. 6 in. above the yard, 13 ft 6 in. above stage. Front Scene doors: 11 feet tall.Heavens ceiling height: 26 ft 9 inches (to the height of the upper gallery floor) The dimensions of the new Globe 33 ft high to the eaves, 45 ft overall.
100 ft diameter 300 ft circumference .20 sections capacity: 1600, including 700 standing places.We can look at this building from the view of functionality and that is very important so this theatre has some amazing numbers regarding functionality but it wasn’t remarkable for its interior. The interior in medieval usually echoed the richness of the surrounding palace but the interior for globe was poor and simple.