From the reign of Henry VII to the death of Elizabeth. History and daily life.
BY DAVID ROSS, EDITOR
Elizabethan theatre and the name of William Shakespeare are inextricably bound together, yet there were others writing plays at the same time as the bard of Avon. One of the most successful was Christopher Marlowe, who many contemporaries considered Shakespeare's superior. Marlowe's career, however, was cut short at a comparatively young age when he died in a tavern fight in Deptford, the victim of a knife in the eye.
After the Theatre, further open air playhouses opened in the London area, including the Rose (1587), and the Hope (1613). The most famous playhouse was the Globe (1599) built by the company in which Shakespeare had a stake.
The Globe was only in use until 1613, when a canon fired during a performance of Henry VIII caught the roof on fire and the building burned to the ground. The site of the theatre was rediscovered in the 20th century and a reconstruction built near the spot.
Theatre performances were held in the afternoon, because, of course, there was no artificial lighting. Women attended plays, though often the prosperous woman would wear a mask to disguise her identity. Further, no women performed in the plays. Female roles were generally performed by young boys.
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This Day in British History
22 December, 1135
Stephen I crowned as king
Stephen had no claim to the throne, which should have gone to his cousin Matilda, daughter of Henry I