The Tudor Theatres were built during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The most famous of the Tudor theatres was the Globe with its close association with William Shakespeare. The theatres were built in a similar style to the Coliseum with a capacity of between 1500 and 3000 people. The very first theatre was built by James Burbage and was appropriately named 'The Theatre'. The architecture of 'The Theatre' was based on a design similar to a small Roman amphitheatre. Tudor Theatres contained features of the existing blood sport rings, such as the Bear Garden, with the addition of a fixed stage and a cobbled yard, as opposed to the bare earth floor suited to animals.
Architecture of Tudor Theatres
Classic Greek and Roman architecture was admired by the Tudors and sometimes great columns framed the entrances of many great Tudor houses. Two great columns were included in the architecture of the Tudor theatres which were called 'Herculean' columns which were carefully painted to resemble marble. The architecture of the Tudor theatres was deliberately designed to reflect elements of Roman and Greek architecture in order to elevate the shabby reputation of plays and their actors to the much admired Greek or Roman classical plays.
Interesting Facts and Information about Tudor Theatres
Interesting facts and information about the architecture and structure of Tudor Theatres, such as the Globe Theatre are as follows:
Size of theatres - Up to 100 feet in diameter with an audience capacity of 1500+
The theatres were octagonal or circular in shape
Building materials for theatres included timber, nails, stone (flint) and plaster
Tudor theatres had thatched roofs which were later tiled
The overall design was of an open air arena, called the 'pit' or the 'yard'. They had a raised stage at one end and was surrounded by three tiers of roofed galleries with balconies overlooking the back of the stage. The stage projected halfway into the 'pit'
Toilet Facilities - there were none. People relieved themselves outside and the sewage was buried in pits or disposed of in the River Thames
Tudor theatres feature Balconies & Galleries
Access to the Balconies & Galleries was by two sets of stairs on either side if the theater
The Stage Gallery above the Stage Wall was called the ' Lord's rooms' which were positioned immediately above the stage wall
There were additional balconies on the left and right of the 'lord's rooms' which were called the 'Gentlemen's rooms
A raised stage - 3 to 5 feet high and supported by large pillars or trestles. The size of the stage varied from 20 foot wide 15 foot deep to 45 feet to 30 feet
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