British and Irish Literature Globe Theatre
by
Michael Hattaway
  • LAST MODIFIED: 26 August 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199846719-0086

Introduction

The Globe was a purpose-built playhouse, built for a new company of players, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, which William Shakespeare had joined as a “sharer” (shareholder) in 1594. Before that he had worked as an actor and playwright with other groups, notably Strange’s Men, based at the Rose, owned and managed by Philip Henslowe. At first the Chamberlain’s Men had worked at the playhouse that was called the Theater in Shoreditch, and at the nearby Curtain from 1597. Late in 1598 the Theater was demolished and its beams were transported south of the river to Southwark to be used in a new playhouse, the Globe, which opened in 1599. In 1613 the Globe was destroyed by fire, which apparently started during a performance of Shakespeare and John Fletcher’s Henry VIII. A new playhouse, the “second Globe,” was immediately erected on the foundations of the first. The theater was closed, along with all other playhouses, in 1642. A replica of the second Globe, now named “Shakespeare’s Globe,” was erected on the south bank of the Thames, a couple of hundred meters from the original site, and opened in 1997. That site will include a replica of an early-17th-century indoor or “private” playhouse.

General Overviews

The three magisterial surveys and analyses of evidence regarding early British playhouses, Greg 1931, Chambers 1923, and Bentley 1941–1968 (the latter two of which cover documentary evidence pertaining to the earlier and later halves of Shakespeare’s career), are now complemented by recent work that examines material evidence of playhouse construction as well as offering fresh accounts of conventions for theatrical representation. These three studies are revised and supplemented in Wickham, et al. 2000, and by detailed accounts of the playhouses and composition of playing companies (see Gurr 2009). Kinney 2003 and Dutton 2011 offer convenient and succinct handbooks, and the ongoing Records of Early English Drama gathers records from all over the country that enable the tours of the London playing companies to be plotted—along with much else beside.

  • Bentley, Gerald Eades. The Jacobean and Caroline Stage. 7 vols. Oxford: Clarendon, 1941–1968.

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    A standard reference book (modeled on Chambers 1923), and a magisterial analysis of material concerning dramatic companies, playhouses and the plays presented in them, and their authors.

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  • Chambers, E. K. The Elizabethan Stage. 4 vols. Oxford: Clarendon, 1923.

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    A standard account of court performances, struggles to control the stage, playing companies, players, playhouses, staging, printing of plays, and playwrights. Many of Chambers’s findings have been revised, but the synthesis he provided remains invaluable.

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  • Dutton, Richard, ed. The Oxford Handbook of Early Modern Theatre. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

    DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199697861.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    International scholars explore the plurality of playing spaces in Renaissance England, the fortunes of playing companies and those that supported them and the patrons who lent their names to them, the opposition of the city authorities, as well as playing styles and material components of the scene. They also review the theories that have shaped conclusions from such evidence as stage directions or visual records.

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  • Greg, W. W. Dramatic Documents from the Elizabethan Playhouses: Stage Plots, Actors’ Parts Prompt Books. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon, 1931.

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    Collotype facsimiles along with transcriptions and analyses of essential documents that cast light on performances and performance conditions in Shakespeare’s England until the closing of the playhouses.

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  • Gurr, Andrew. The Shakespearean Stage: 1574–1642. 4th ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

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    A standard and concise account of the period’s companies, players, playhouses, staging conventions, and theater audiences. An appendix matches a good selection of plays to the companies that first performed them and to the playhouses where they were first performed, and there is a full bibliography.

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  • Kinney, Arthur F. Shakespeare by Stages: An Historical Introduction. Oxford: Blackwell, 2003.

    DOI: 10.1002/9780470775813Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An introduction for students to the stages, players, and playgoers of Shakespeare’s London; to the theatrical equipment that was used; and to the reactions generated.

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  • Records of Early English Drama. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1979–.

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    An ongoing project that serves “to locate, transcribe, and edit historical surviving documentary evidence of drama, secular music, and other communal entertainment and ceremony from the Middle Ages until 1642, when the Puritans closed the London theatres.” Volumes of this multivolume series are devoted to counties or particular institutions such as London’s Inns of Court.

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  • Wickham, Glynne, Herbert Berry, and William Ingram, eds. English Professional Theatre, 1530–1660. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

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    Gathers recently edited documents of control (1530–1660), accounts of players and playing, and then of all the London playhouses, including the first and second Globe.

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Origins

The 1576 opening of the Theater, the first purpose-built professional playhouse in London since Roman times, with its own company and repertoire, does not mark a “big bang” in theatrical history (Ingram 1992). Plays had been performed around the country in fairgrounds and halls (see Hosley 1964, Astington 1992, Wickham 1959–2002, Milling and Thomson 2004, O’Connell 2010), and professional groups of players had long been in existence (Mann 1991). Moreover, theatrical conventions and dramatic styles had evolved from medieval models: these playhouses were equipped to create spectacle but not illusion—which is what earlier scholars had looked for (Hosley 1968).

  • Astington, John H., ed. The Development of Shakespeare’s Theater. New York: AMS Press, 1992.

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    Relevant material includes essays on the evolution of the Elizabethan playing company, hall screens and Elizabethan playhouses, the roof of the Globe, and the stage superstructures of the first Globe and the Swan.

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  • Hosley, Richard. “The Origins of the Shakespearean Playhouse.” Shakespeare Quarterly 15.2 (1964): 29–39.

    DOI: 10.2307/2867872Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Uses early London maps (particularly the 1560 “View”), which portray the polygonal bull- and bear-baiting rings on the South Bank, as well as the dimensions of surviving great halls and the doors and entrances within their hall-screens as the basis for descriptions of the fabric of the public playhouses and the later private playhouses, which, Hosley argues, derived from them.

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  • Hosley, Richard. “The Origins of the So-Called Elizabethan Multiple Stage.” TDR (1967–1968) 12.2 (1968): 28–50.

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    Contrasts the design of and practice on Elizabethan stages with the multiple stages of Victorian and Edwardian theaters that were designed to create illusion by distinguishing indoor from outdoor settings, and window scenes from those simply set “aloft,” and argues that this concept of multiple stages distorted the work of earlier playhouse historians such as J. C. Adams.

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  • Ingram, William. The Business of Playing: The Beginnings of the Adult Professional Theater in Elizabethan London. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1992.

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    Opens by problematizing the making and circumstantiality of narratives, as well as the ways in which inquiries may be subjective or shaped by cultural bias. Uses contracts and the histories of players to question the narrative closures that have been derived from them. Reminds readers that players often earned money outside of their best-known “professions.” Questions the “big bang” origins of professional playhouses.

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  • Mann, David. The Elizabethan Player: Contemporary Stage Representation. London: Routledge, 1991.

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    Usefully assembles an impressive range of extracts from early modern plays in which professional players performed (in plays-within-plays and before onstage audience, as well as costumes and properties from Henslowe’s “Diary,” along with doubling charts for four touring productions of the 1570s. Addresses the esteem in which players were held.

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  • Milling, Jane, and Peter Thomson, eds. The Cambridge History of British Theater. Vol. 1, Origins to 1660. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

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    A well-organized and comprehensive collection of nineteen essays that address both literary and material history, and also cultural contexts. The first four contain treatment of pre-Elizabethan theater (beginning with Roman times); the next eight of the Elizabethan theater; and the last seven of theater during the reigns of James I, Charles I, and during the Commonwealth. Particular moments are analyzed through “case studies.”

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  • O’Connell, Michael. “Continuities between ‘Medieval’ and ‘Early Modern’ Drama.” In A New Companion to English Renaissance Literature and Culture. Edited by Michael Hattaway, 60–69. Chichester, UK; and Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.

    DOI: 10.1002/9781444319019Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines metatheatrical references in English Renaissance drama to medieval plays that continued to be performed at court, the Inns of Court, and great halls.

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  • Wickham, Glynne. Early English Stages 1300 to 1660. 5 vols. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1959–2002.

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    A comprehensive chronicle and analysis of medieval open-air and indoor entertainments and medieval dramatic theory and practice, with full accounts of drama and festival, drama and the Christian calendar, court and civic festivals, playmakers, devices, state control of drama until 1642 and its effects on actors, playmakers, and theaters, and then early modern playhouses, stage furniture, and the relation between the emblematic tradition and theatrical images.

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Playing Companies

Owning or leasing their own London playhouses put companies of players on a better financial footing than had been enjoyed by groups of wandering players (Aaron 2005), and their names, lent by noble patrons, afforded them protection from the punishments that could be meted out to “masterless men,” who were all too readily branded as rogues and vagabonds (Gurr 1996). Scholars have recently found it profitable to locate individual plays within the distinctive repertories built to cater to the tastes particular social groups (Gurr 2004).

  • Aaron, Melissa D. Global Economics: A History of the Theater Business, the Chamberlain’s/King’s Men, and Their Plays, 1599–1642. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2005.

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    Draws upon evidence from Shakespearean texts for an examination of Shakespeare’s company as a business, and analyzes the publication of the First Folio as a “corporate statement.”

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  • Gurr, Andrew. The Shakespearian Playing Companies. Oxford: Clarendon, 1996.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198129776.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Full and scholarly histories of the development of England’s forty or so playing companies, from the 1560s until the playhouses were closed in 1642. A separate section is devoted to each company. Centers on the London companies and their playhouses, and analyzes the contributions of leading players, relating the distinctive qualities of company repertories to social and political historical contexts.

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  • Gurr, Andrew. The Shakespeare Company, 1594–1642. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

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    A pioneering and definitive study that places the notion of the playing company at the center of a wide-ranging account of the players, company documents, repertory, and surviving texts, as well as listing court performances. Argues that Shakespeare and his fellow sharers were accorded political patronage in the last years of Elizabeth, before, under James, they became the King’s Men.

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The Playhouses

There is frustratingly little pictorial evidence for the physical appearance of London’s early playhouses (Kinney 2003). The most important remains a copy of a drawing of the Swan (Gerritsen 2005), where only one play is definitively known to have been played (Foakes 1985, Foakes 2003, Astington 1998). There are also some small and imprecise representations in maps and panoramas. Playhouses were of two types: circular or polygonal structures open to the sky, variously described as public, arena, or amphitheater playhouses (Hosley 1957); and indoor theaters, sometimes round, sometimes hall-shaped, and known as private playhouses. The word “playhouse” reminds us that acting was, in the early modern period, generally designated as “playing,” and actors as “players”—a useful guard against, in this context, assigning concepts appropriate to representational or illusionistic theater (Hodges 1999).

  • Astington, John H. “Rereading Illustrations of the English Stage.” Shakespeare Survey 50 (1998): 151–170.

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    Questions the dubious claims of those who have assumed that graphic evidence supersedes documentary historical material, and also those who have made spurious connections between illustrative images of stages or playhouses and particular texts or playhouse conventions.

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  • Fitzpatrick, Tim, and Russell Emerson. “Reconstructing the Spatial Dynamics of ‘Lost’ Theatre Spaces: Shakespeare’s Second, First, and Third Globe Theaters.” People and Physical Environment Research 53–54 (1999): 42–57.

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    Uses computer-aided design software on the figure of the second Globe playhouse in Hollar’s panoramic sketch of London in the 1630s, and collates the results with archaeological evidence gleaned from its foundations. Confirms that the theater was based on a sixteen-sided polygonal design.

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  • Foakes, R. A. Illustrations of the English Stage, 1580–1642. London: Scolar Press, 1985.

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    Gathers maps, panoramic views of London, drawings, and title-page vignettes that illustrate actors and stages; frontispieces and title-pages from printed texts of plays; and miscellaneous illustrations that relate to the playhouses, stages, and drama of early modern England.

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  • Foakes, R. A. “Playhouses and Players.” In The Cambridge Companion to English Renaissance Drama. Edited by A. R. Braunmuller and Michael Hattaway, 1–52. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

    DOI: 10.1017/CCOL0521821150Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A succinct survey of the amphitheater (or “public”) playhouses and indoor (or “private”) theaters in early modern London.

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  • Gerritsen, Johan. “De Witt, Van Buchell, the Swan, and the Second Globe: An Assessment of the Evidence.” Shakespeare Yearbook 15 (2005): 9–31.

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    The well-known drawing of the Swan by Johannes de Witt is a copy of a sketch by Arend van Buchell, itself derived from a drawing now lost. These are related to the miscellanies and notebooks of the two men in the library of the University of Utrecht. Also deals with two unverified drawings of the second Globe, dated 1640 but lost since 1929.

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  • Hodges, C. Walter. Enter the Whole Army: A Pictorial Study of Shakespearean Staging, 1576–1616. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

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    Assembles fifty of this scholar and artist’s drawings that illustrate aspects of private as well as amphitheater playhouses, and offers visual explanations for specific scenes and incidents.

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  • Hosley, Richard. “The Gallery over the Stage in the Public Playhouse of Shakespeare’s Time.” Shakespeare Quarterly 8.1 (1957): 15–31.

    DOI: 10.2307/2867515Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Makes the case for the occupation of the balcony in the tiring-house that overlooked the stage by spectators, and suggests that references to “the lords’ room” might designate that area. (Some earlier critics had read “lord’s room” and argued that this might have been set aside for the company’s patron.)

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  • Kinney, Arthur F. Shakespeare by Stages: An Historical Introduction. Oxford: Blackwell, 2003.

    DOI: 10.1002/9780470775813Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An introduction for students to the stages, players, and playgoers of Shakespeare’s London, to the theatrical equipment that was used, and to the reactions generated.

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Architecture

The design and construction of the Globe have been placed in the context of European Renaissance architecture (Yates 1969, Cairns 1999), although being an “architect” was not really established as a profession in the age of Shakespeare. Peter Street (b. 1553–d. 1609), the builder who looked after the construction of the Globe, was described when he was buried as “Peter Street, Carpenter.” Scholars have argued from projections from Hollar’s drawings and engravings that, like later playhouses, the Globe was designed according to ad quadratum methods that derived from Vitruvius (Orrell 1979, Orrell 1988, Kohler 1983). This method in fact had long been known to medieval builders. Orrell 1984 also demonstrates that the Globe was deliberately orientated so that the sun did not shine directly onto the stage.

  • Cairns, Christopher, ed. The Renaissance Theatre: Texts, Performance, Design. 2 vols. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 1999.

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    An impressive range of essays dealing with theater and costume design, etc., across early modern Europe. Volume 1, English and Italian Theatre; Volume 2, Design, Image, and Acting.

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  • Kohler, Richard C. “Vitruvian Proportions in Theater Design in the Sixteenth and Early Seventeenth Centuries in Italy and England.” Shakespeare Studies 16 (1983): 265–325.

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    Compares the ad quadratum and Vitruvian methods of design, links Serlio and Palladio with Inigo Jones and John Webb, and finds similarities between the Lord Chamberlain’s Globe and Palladio’s Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza.

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  • Orrell, John. “New Developments: On the Construction of Elizabethan Theatres.” Shakespeare Newsletter 29 (1979): 20.

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    Analyzes the use of ad triangulum and ad quadratum techniques employed by Elizabethan builders.

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  • Orrell, John. “Sunlight at the Globe.” Theatre Notebook 38.2 (1984): 69–76.

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    By the use of a rotating model and a distant light source, proves that the stage was always in shadow.

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  • Orrell, John. The Human Stage: English Theater Design, 1567–1640. Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988.

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    Within the context of Renaissance architectural theory and building design, discusses the Red Lion playhouse (1567), the Christ Church Theater, Oxford (1605), the Paved Court Theater, Somerset House (1632), and others. Argues that the Globe and other playhouses were fully realized architectural ideas, not ad hoc improvisations, and that indoor playhouses, like the Blackfriars, were influenced by schemes of Serlio.

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  • Yates, Frances Amelia. Theatre of the World. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1969.

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    Using as a basis of her argument the plate labeled “Theatrum orbis,” which appeared in a work by Robert Fludd in 1619, the author explores the philosophical paradigms that brought this concept into being and that informed court masques. Argues that James Burbage’s playhouse, the Theater of 1576, was an adaptation of the descriptions of ancient theaters as described by Vitruvius.

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Audiences

Earlier generations of scholars were tempted to project their own ideas of “ideal spectators” onto their accounts of early modern playhouse audiences (e.g., Lawrence 1935) but Gurr’s identification (in Gurr 2004) of the social standing of every named individual known to have attended a playhouse performance has clarified if not settled the debate. Accounts of spectator behavior (Cook 1977, Blackstone and Louis 1995) have added details but cannot determine what was typical or characteristic. Seating was socially stratified (Egan 1997, Stern 2000), and particular parts of the playhouse must have encouraged particular behaviors (Stern 2000). Unreceptive or unruly auditors might shape the effect of particular performances (Engler 1993) or threaten the futures of playhouses (Gurr 1988).

  • Blackstone, Mary A., and Cameron Louis. “Towards ‘a Full and Understanding Auditory’: New Evidence of Playgoers at the First Globe Theatre.” Modern Language Review 90.3 (1995): 556–571.

    DOI: 10.2307/3734315Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Transcribes and analyzes Star Chamber documents concerning a squabble at the Globe in 1613 between Elizabeth Wybarn and Ambrose Vaux that casts some light on the composition of audiences.

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  • Cook, Ann Jennalie. “‘Bargaines of Incontinencie’: Bawdy Behavior in the Playhouses.” Shakespeare Studies 10 (1977): 271–290.

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    Analyzes records of aspects of bawdy behavior and attempts at seduction among audience members.

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  • Egan, Gabriel. “The Situation of the ‘Lords Room’: A Revaluation.” Review of English Studies 48.191 (1997): 297–309.

    DOI: 10.1093/res/XLVIII.191.297Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Suggests that this area of playhouses may have designated not only the balcony overlooking the main playing space but also a seating area to the side of that stage.

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  • Engler, Balz. “‘Else My Project Fails’: Applause and the Authority of Shakespeare’s Texts.” Cahiers Élisabéthains 44 (1993): 23–31.

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    Describes how the reactions of spectators define and interpret the meaning of particular performances, some adapted for special occasions. Concludes we might find authority in “traditions of using texts,” rather than within the texts themselves.

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  • Gurr, Andrew. “Money or Audiences: The Impact of Shakespeare’s Globe.” Theatre Notebook 42 (1988): 3–14.

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    Argues that although the King’s Men had a profitable private playhouse at the Blackfriars, they may have opted to rebuild their public playhouse after the fire of 1613 in order to avoid the damage (sometimes severe) inflicted on other playhouses when apprentices were displeased with the theatrical fare that was available.

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  • Gurr, Andrew. Playgoing in Shakespeare’s London. 3d ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

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    Revision of a seminal work, first published in 1987, that names all individuals known to have visited playhouses, and indicates how particular companies catered to the tastes of particular social groups.

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  • Lawrence, William John. Those Nut-Cracking Elizabethans: Studies of the Early Theatre and Drama. London: Argonaut, 1935.

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    An engaging miscellany of essays on audience behavior, Shakespeare’s use of animals, Shakespeare’s “supers,” the dumb show in Hamlet, bearers for the dead, bells in Elizabethan drama, the evolution of the tragic carpet, stage furniture and its removers, double titles in Elizabethan drama, and other disparate topics.

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  • Stern, Tiffany. “‘You That Walk i’th’Galleries’: Standing and Walking in the Galleries of the Globe Theatre.” Shakespeare Quarterly 51.2 (2000): 211–216.

    DOI: 10.2307/2902134Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Adduces evidence that those that paid higher entry prices for admission to the Globe galleries could stand and move about—like those in the playhouse yard.

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Players

Debates about the “naturalness” or stylization of early modern players—were they like men or marionettes—have not yet been settled (Astington 2010), but more recently scholars have turned to the organization of companies and habits of typecasting and doubling (when players take more than one part in a play)—see King 1992 and Mahood 1998. Clowns became celebrities and could “play themselves” (Wiles 1987), while the “boys” who took women’s roles might well have been better considered as apprentices than as children: these performers had to take on roles that matched neither their sex nor their age (Kathman 2005).

  • Astington, John. Actors and Acting in Shakespeare’s Time: The Art of Stage Playing. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511761379Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines professional English players between 1558 and about 1660, in the cultural context of stage playing, the critical language used about it, and the kinds of training and practice employed in the theater. Describes social networks, apprenticeship and company affiliations, and academic traditions of playing in schools, universities, legal inns, and choral communities. Contains a biographical dictionary of all major players.

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  • Kathman, David. “How Old Were Shakespeare’s Boy Actors?” Shakespeare Survey 58 (2005): 220–246.

    DOI: 10.1017/CCOL0521850746.021Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Until the early 1660s, female roles on the English stage (including the most demanding, complex parts) were played by adolescent boys, no younger than twelve and no older than twenty-one or twenty-two, with a median of around sixteen or seventeen.

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  • King, T. J. Casting Shakespeare’s Plays: London Actors and Their Roles, 1590–1642. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1992.

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    Drawing on playhouse documents, promptbooks, and manuscript and printed texts of plays that link players to particular roles, King works out the size and composition of the groups that performed plays by Shakespeare between 1590 and 1642, and offers tables that set out their casting requirements.

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  • Mahood, M. M. Playing Bit Parts in Shakespeare. London: Routledge, 1998.

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    An engaging play-by-play account of the smallest roles in Shakespearean plays that examines clues concerning how they may have been performed, and by whom.

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  • Wiles, David. Shakespeare’s Clown: Actor and Text in the Elizabethan Playhouse. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1987.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511553417Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The improvisatory talents of Will Kemp, first clown to the Chamberlain’s Men, caused a tension between the explorations of progressive writers and a man with traditional abilities. Traces the history of clownage, and describes Kemp’s predecessor, Richard Tarlton, the leading comic of the 1570s and 1580s, and his successor, Robert Armin, who, at the Globe, created the “fool” parts in Shakespeare.

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Staging and Performance

Early modern staging celebrated spectacle rather than illusion and made little attempt to conceal the arts of representation and presentation (Braunmuller and Hattaway 2003). Certain conventions were dictated by the material realities of properties and on-stage furniture, and by the physical configurations of the playhouses (King 1971, Carnegie 1996, Gurr and Egan 2002, Kiefer 2007). Editors of play-texts have traditionally wanted to supply a locale for each scene, but Weimann 1978 demonstrates that sometimes the stage or parts of it were localized, and sometimes not (see also Hopkins 2008). Performances did not always match in length the modern editions of the texts from which they were derived (Hirrel 2010).

  • Braunmuller, A. R., and Michael Hattaway, eds. The Cambridge Companion to English Renaissance Drama. 2d ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

    DOI: 10.1017/CCOL0521821150Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Contains essays on playhouses, players, and the arts of early modern dramatists, as well as the predominant dramatic genres in the period.

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  • Carnegie, David. “Stabbed through the Arras: The Dramaturgy of Elizabethan Stage Hangings.” In Shakespeare: World Views. Edited by Heather Kerr, Robin Eaden, and Madge Mitton, 181–199. Newark: Delaware University Press, 1996.

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    Uses evidence from The Merry Wives of Windsor, Hamlet, and The Winter’s Tale to illuminate how stage hangings were used for overhearing and discovery spaces.

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  • Gurr, Andrew, and Gabriel Egan. “Prompting, Backstage Activity, and the Openings onto the Shakespearean Stage.” Theatre Notebook 56 (2002): 138–142.

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    Reinforces the argument that players came onto the stage through doors (an innovation at the Rose and the Globe) rather than through hangings. These doors may have had grilles or grates cut into them, which would have facilitated prompting, probably by the “bookholder.”

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  • Hirrel, Michael J. “Duration of Performances and Lengths of Plays: How Shall We Beguile the Lazy Time?” Shakespeare Quarterly 61.2 (2010): 159–182.

    DOI: 10.1353/shq.0.0140Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The length of the plays indicates that texts were not cut to fit a performance time of only two hours. The “theatrical event,” which included incidental entertainment, could on occasion last almost four hours.

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  • Hopkins, D. J. City/Stage/Globe: Performance and Space in Shakespeare’s London. New York: Routledge, 2008.

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    Examines the combination of “medieval” and “Renaissance” performance conventions as well as three categories of space—the urban, the theatrical, and the cartographic—by which “cities” were represented, and relates these to new cartographic categories of space. Focuses attention on Julius Caesar and Coriolanus.

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  • Kiefer, Frederick. “Curtains on the Shakespearean Stage.” Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England 20 (2007): 151–186.

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    A full review of the uses of curtains around beds and those used for discovery scenes, as well as of arrases, hangings, and window curtains.

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  • King, T. J. Shakespearean Staging, 1599–1642. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971.

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    A systematic review that collates visual and textual records, as well as playhouse documents, of the performance requirements for the 276 plays performed between the opening of the Globe in 1599 and 1642, when Parliament closed the playhouses.

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  • Weimann, Robert. Shakespeare and the Popular Dramatic Tradition in the Theater: Studies in the Social Dimension of Dramatic Form and Function. Edited by Robert Schwartz. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978.

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    A study of the role of folk culture in medieval drama, especially in the cycle plays and moralities, which carries forward into early modern drama a useful dialectic between the uses of platea, an unlocalized playing area, and locus, part of the playing space that was held to designate a place.

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The Question of Performance

Performance study has progressed from being a species of antiquarianism, as scholars have pointed out that performance can be a kind of publication, and that a play-text does not have one “authentic” meaning but a multiplicity of meanings generated by the forms and pressures of particular representations (Hodgdon and Worthen 2005). Conventions might not meet expectations (Lopez 2003) or remain problematic (Weimann 2010). Boy players were not just cross-dressing but were enacting and problematizing gender roles (Orgel 1996), and the distinctions between “staging” and “reading” may become blurred (Stern 2008).

  • Hodgdon, Barbara, and William B. Worthen, eds. A Companion to Shakespeare and Performance. Oxford and Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2005.

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    A collection of essays that range widely to consider performances in Britain and the rest of the world, exploring practical and theoretical issues that arise when Shakespearean texts are represented in performance.

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  • Lopez, Jeremy. Theatrical Convention and Audience Response in Early Modern Drama. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

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    Focuses on the relationship between the repertory system of the time and the conventions and content of the plays. The limitations of the relatively bare stage and nonnaturalistic mode of early modern theater made the potential for failure very great, and the ways playwrights anticipated it, and audiences responded to it are crucial for understanding the way in which the drama succeeded on stage.

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  • Orgel, Stephen. Impersonations: The Performance of Gender in Shakespeare’s England. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

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    England, the only country in Europe to maintain an all-male public theater in the Renaissance, inevitably developed conventions for cross-dressing in the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Analyzes the place of women both on the stage and among audiences, and analyzes female characters that violated accepted gender boundaries.

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  • Stern, Tiffany. “Watching as Reading: The Audience and Written Text in Shakespeare’s Playhouse.” In How to Do Things with Shakespeare: New Approaches, New Essays. Edited by Laurie Maguire, 136–159. Oxford and Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2008.

    DOI: 10.1002/9780470694114Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Reexamines the binary opposition between “staging” and “reading” that was opened up by Lukas Erne’s study Shakespeare as Literary Dramatist, in order to “challenge the terms in which assumptions were being made about what is ‘literary’ and what is ‘theatrical.’”

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  • Weimann, Robert. “Performance in Shakespeare’s Theatre: Ministerial and/or Magisterial?” Shakespeare International Yearbook 10 (2010): 3–29.

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    Explores the extent to which performance practice might have exceeded the “ministerial” quality of its dramatic language, and attempts to come to terms with some of the rapidly changing parameters in the theory and practice of early modern drama produced both materially as an event with live performance and as a textually sustained imaginary act.

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Uncovering London’s Playhouses

In recent years the foundations of several important London playhouses have been exposed (Blatherwick 2002), and modern archaeological techniques have added hard evidence to documentary testimony (Orrell 1992). Although it has been possible to excavate only a very small portion of the Globe itself, excavation at other sites has made it possible to create illuminating inferences that enhance what is known about Shakespeare’s playhouse.

Contexts

The nature of playing and representation is shaped not only by the materiality of the playhouses but also by ideology (Shapiro 1994), politics, and cultural debate (Dawson and Yachnin 2001, Corrigan 2004); by attempts at control and by contestation (Ingram 1984, Gurr 2000); by the materiality of contemporary culture (Richardson 2011); and by systems of patronage (White and Westfall 2002).

  • Corrigan, Brian Jay. Playhouse Law in Shakespeare’s World. Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2004.

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    Explores relationships between the development of theatrical activity and the Inns of Court, looks at lawsuits related to playhouses, and analyzes the legal meanings of “use” and of clandestine marriage.

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  • Dawson, Anthony B., and Paul Edward Yachnin. The Culture of Playgoing in Shakespeare’s England: A Collaborative Debate. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

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    Examines the experience of playgoing within wider contexts and in the light of what happened within the playhouse; attends to the person of the actor, on-stage props, visual pleasure, and audience behavior. These are related to Eucharistic controversy, prostitution, social mobility, iconoclasm, Renaissance optics, the formation of national memory, the dissemination of news, and other factors.

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  • Gurr, Andrew. “The Authority of the Globe and the Fortune.” In Material London, ca. 1600. Edited by Lena Cowen Orlin, 251–267. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000.

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    Relates the need to build playhouses to suit the playing companies to the attempts of the Privy Council to control playing and playgoing.

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  • Ingram, William. “The Globe Playhouse and Its Neighbors in 1600.” Essays in Theatre 2.2 (1984): 63–72.

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    The Globe, the Swan, and the Hope playhouses lay within the parish of St Saviour’s Church (the church is now Southwark Cathedral), which may have been an area less disreputable and rowdy than other parts of Bankside.

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  • Richardson, Catherine. Shakespeare and Material Culture. Oxford Shakespeare Texts. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

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    Explores connections between the material experiences imposed upon social and gendered groups and the meanings inherent in the representations of personal possessions, clothing, household spaces, celebrations, etc.

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  • Shapiro, Michael. Gender in Play on the Shakespearean Stage: Boy Heroines and Female Pages. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1994.

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    Analyzes cross-dressing, sexual identity, and the performance of gender. Examines Shakespearean comedies as well as Cymbeline, and focuses on the popular motif of the “female page,” arguing that this was partly brought into being by prosecutions of cross-dressing women for prostitution and by homoerotic practices among apprentices. Considers the influence of Shakespeare’s innovations on other dramatists.

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  • White, Paul Whitfield, and Suzanne R. Westfall, eds. Shakespeare and Theatrical Patronage in Early Modern England. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

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    Essays address the functions of patronage on theater, the representation of theatrical patronage and, conversely, the impact of theater on patronage. The volume also explores the evolution of patronage from the early modern period until the age of Shakespeare, and the ways in which spectators and the purchasers of printed drama fit into discussions of the topic.

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The Globe Playhouses of 1599 and 1614

The first Globe was a newly built playhouse into which the Lord Chamberlain’s Men moved in 1599. Before that, they had performed at other London playhouses, as well as at Court and on tour. This first playhouse was destroyed by fire and a second one was built on the foundations of the first in 1614.

Archaeological Evidence

Recent archaeological discoveries and excavations at the sites of the Globe and other playhouses where Shakespearean texts had been performed—the Rose, the Theater, and the Curtain, the latter unearthed only in 2012—have supplied invaluable new material evidence (Cuyler 1993, Demaray 1999, Bowsher and Miller 2009). This supplements documentary history from the period as well as the evidence embedded in, for example, the stage directions of play-texts, and has itself been supplemented by computer modeling (Egan 2004). However, only one corner of the foundations of the Globe has been able to be excavated because later buildings occupy most of the site (Gurr 1990; Barber, et al. 2001).

  • Barber, Bruno, John Giorgi, and Roy Stephenson. “‘Saving the Globe?’: Part I, Archaeological Excavation Occasioned by the Redevelopment of the Anchor Terrace Car Park, Park Street, SE1.” London Archaeologist 9.11 (2001): 300–308.

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    First of a two-part article that reviews the results of the excavation of the site of the Globe playhouses and describes its preservation. “‘Saving the Globe?’: Part 2, The Preservation of the Monument,” by Bruno Barber, is in London Archaeologist 9.12 (2001): 323–329.

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  • Bowsher, Julian, and Pat Miller. The Rose and the Globe: Playhouses of Shakespeare’s Bankside, Southwark: Excavations 1988–91. London: Museum of London Archaeology, 2009.

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    Reports on the astonishing artifacts and ecofacts found in the excavations of the Rose and the Globe, provides images of objects that cast light on daily life in and around the playhouses and the shape of the Rose, and offers a professional analysis of the methods used in conducting the excavations.

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  • Cuyler, Grenville. “The Globe and the Fortune: A Synthesis.” London Archaeologist 7.2 (Spring 1993): 36–39.

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    From archaeological evidence, endorses Orrell’s findings on the size and shape of the Globe, correlating these to those of the Fortune playhouse.

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  • Demaray, John G. “The Still-Elusive Globe: Archaeological Remains and Scholarly Speculations.” Shakespearean International Yearbook 1 (1999): 142–151.

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    Assesses the impact of archaeological evidence and the experience of constructing Shakespeare’s Globe on knowledge of the first and second Globes.

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  • Egan, Gabriel. “The 1599 Globe and Its Modern Replica: Virtual Reality Modelling of the Archaeological and Pictorial Evidence.” In Special Issue: Computer Modeling of Performance Spaces. Edited by Gabriel Egan. Early Modern Literary Studies 13.5 (April 2004): 1–22.

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    Reproduces CAD images of models of the excavated 1599 foundations of the Globe, and the radial lines used by Hollar to create his panoramic view of London, along with an analysis of them.

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  • Gurr, Andrew. “A First Doorway into the Globe.” Shakespeare Quarterly 41.1 (1990): 97–100.

    DOI: 10.2307/2870804Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The discovery of foundations of a stair turret on the outside of the outer gallery wall of the second Globe reveals no evidence of earlier construction: the second playhouse was built to fit exactly upon the foundations of the first. External stairs saved internal space for seating and reduced the number of gatherers who collected payments from those who left the yard to sit in the galleries.

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Documentary Evidence

This category of evidence includes legal documents (Berry 1987), drawings and engravings (Orrell 1983, Orrell 1993), references within plays, and books contemporaneous with them (Dutton 1988, Egan 1998, Stern 1997), as well as analyses of the methods used to interpret these (Postlewait 2009).

  • Berry, Herbert. Shakespeare’s Playhouses. New York: AMS Press, 1987.

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    Contains, among other essays on earlier theaters, “The Globe: Documents and Ownership” and an essay on a lawsuit involving Matthew Brand and the King’s Men over the lease of the Globe.

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  • Dutton, Richard. “Hamlet, An Apology for Actors, and the Sign of the Globe.” Shakespeare Survey 41 (1988): 35–43.

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    The reference by Rosencrantz to “Hercules and his load” in 2.2 of Hamlet and the mention of a “Giant-like Atlas” in Thomas Heywood’s Apology for Actors refer to an emblem that may have decorated the “heavens” of the playhouse, and that may have been reproduced on the playhouse flag, supporting the tradition that the sign of the Globe was Hercules bearing the world on his shoulders.

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  • Egan, Gabriel. “‘Geometrical’ Hinges and the Fons Scenae of the Globe.” Theatre Notebook 52 (1998): 62–64.

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    Suggests that the stage doors at the second Globe were fitted with hinges that allowed them to open both into and out of the tiring-house, thus creating a discovery space (see The Duchess of Malfi, 4.2.209).

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  • Orrell, John. The Quest for Shakespeare’s Globe. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1983.

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    Amasses and assesses all available visual and textual evidence, with a concentration on the panoramas of Wenceslas Hollar and others. Argues that Hollar viewed London through a topographical glass from the tower of St. Saviour’s Church (now Southwark Cathedral), which lends his drawings authority and enables the author to compute the dimensions of the second Globe playhouse, used by the King’s Men.

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  • Orrell, John. “The Accuracy of Hollar’s Sketch of the Globe.” Shakespeare Bulletin 11.2 (1993): 5–9.

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    Argues that Wenceslas Hollar did not use a camera obscura but rather a topographical glass for his panoramic view. Deduces that the second Globe had a diameter of about one hundred feet.

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  • Postlewait, Thomas. The Cambridge Introduction to Theatre Historiography. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

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    A study of the methodological issues that arise out of archival research and historical writing. Includes a case study focused on the documentary history of the Globe.

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  • Stern, Tiffany. “Was Totus Mundus Agit Histrionem Ever the Motto of the Globe Theatre?” Theatre Notebook 51 (1997): 122–127.

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    Establishes that there is no conclusive evidence that this motto ever appeared on the Globe playhouse.

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Playing Spaces

The playing spaces used at the Globe centered on a large open space that projected from the highly decorated frons scenae or tiring-house façade (Hodges 1968), and was defined by structurally significant parts of the building (Fitzpatrick 2011) and by economic considerations (Gurr 1996a). Layout may have been influenced by Renaissance architectural theory (Chamberlain 2001), but it also had affinities with earlier playing spaces (Gurr 1996b). There was not, as used to be thought, an “inner stage,” but a larger central entrance was used for “discovery scenes” (Hosley 1959, Gurr 1997).

  • Chamberlain, Paul G. “The Shakespearian Globe: Geometry, Optics, Spectacle.” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 19.3 (2001): 317–333.

    DOI: 10.1068/d263Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores concepts of the globe, postulating Vitruvian antecedents for the Globe playhouse, and relates these to playhouse spectacle and to globes in Shakespeare’s literary landscapes.

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  • Fitzpatrick, Tim. Playwright, Space, and Place in Early Modern Performance: Shakespeare and Company. Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2011.

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    Argues that the resources and constraints of public playhouse buildings, entrance doors, stage posts, the gallery, trap doors, and so on affected the construction of the fictional worlds of early modern plays. Generic conventions rather than local company practices governed the ways in which space and place were related in performance.

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  • Gurr, Andrew. “Entrances and Hierarchy in the Globe Auditorium.” Shakespeare Bulletin 14.4 (1996a): 11–13.

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    Shows how entrances matched social hierarchies in the playhouse.

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  • Gurr, Andrew. “The Social Evolution of Shakespeare’s Globe.” Theatre Symposium 4 (1996b): 15–26.

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    Although the Globe was the first English theater designed for the use of a particular company, many of its features had evolved from earlier playhouses.

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  • Gurr, Andrew. “Traps and Discoveries at the Globe.” Proceedings of the British Academy 94 (1997): 85–101.

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    Develops a “vertical sociology” of the Globe auditorium. Desirable seats may have been in the middle galleries, facing the frons scenae rather than above the discovery space. However, some set-pieces, such as “The Mousetrap” in Hamlet, may have been played to face away from the yard. Also describes the use of the central opening and the stage trap.

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  • Hodges, C. Walter. The Globe Restored: A Study of the Elizabethan Theatre. 2d ed. London: Oxford University Press, 1968.

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    The author’s own line drawings body out a study that emphasizes the spectacular effects created by the interior of the elaborately decorated building itself; Hodges describes the possibilities for music and sound effects, and insists on differences between “discovery” spaces and the theories of an “inner stage” popular with earlier scholars and historians.

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  • Hosley, Richard. “The Discovery-Space in Shakespeare’s Globe.” Shakespeare Survey 12 (1959): 35–46.

    DOI: 10.1017/CCOL0521064252.005Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The first Globe’s tiring-house resembled de Witt’s drawing of the Swan and had two or three doors that were as wide as they were high and were used for “discovery” scenes based on a simple and strong theatrical image—not, as had been previously argued, for an “inner stage.” These scenes could have been revealed by drawing curtains or by opening a door.

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The Second Globe

The Globe was rebuilt after the fire of 1613. Evidence of a large “cover” extending over the stage appears in an engraving by Hollar (Hodges 1973), and Hollar’s rendition of the shape of the playhouse has been confirmed by computer-aided design (Fitzpatrick 2004).

Earlier Reconstructions

Earlier reconstructions (O’Connor 2002) were based upon mistaken assumptions about the extent to which players and their companies sought “naturalism” or illusion (Gurr 1989, Gurr 1995, Egan 1999).

Performing at the Globe

Studies include analyses of particular sequences (Leggatt 1992), studies of the texts that would have been used when performances were being prepared (Gurr 1999a), evidence for entrances and on-stage movement (Gurr 1999b, Mahood 2000), as well as speculations over the Globe’s opening performance (Sohmer 1999).

  • Gurr, Andrew. “Maximal and Minimal Texts: Shakespeare v. the Globe.” Shakespeare Survey 52 (1999a): 68–87.

    DOI: 10.1017/CCOL0521660742.006Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Describes “maximal” texts that would have gone to the Master of the Revels to be “seen and allowed,” and “minimal” texts that derived from these and served as the basis for performances, changing as conditions demanded. From these the author examines what can be known about the length of performances.

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  • Gurr, Andrew. “Enter through the Yard?” Around the Globe: The Magazine of Shakespeare’s Globe 11 (Autumn 1999b): 32–33.

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    Argues that, in contrast to recurrent practice at Shakespeare’s Globe, players would not have entered through the yard.

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  • Leggatt, Alexander. Jacobean Public Theatre. London: Routledge, 1992.

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    A discussion of playhouses, audience, acting, and theatrical conventions, with a section on the quarto History of King Lear, analyzing its staging techniques and appeal to a public playhouse audience.

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  • Mahood, M. M. “Shakespeare’s Sense of Direction.” In Shakespeare Performed: Essays in Honor of R. A. Foakes. Edited by Grace Ioppolo, 33–55. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2000.

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    Examines the stage and textual conventions for direction that enabled spectators to distinguish inward from outward entrances—the former establishing an interior location offstage, and the latter an exterior one. This might help control back-stage traffic.

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  • Sohmer, Steve. Shakespeare’s Mystery Play: The Opening of the Globe Theatre 1599. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1999.

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    By linking biblical, classical, and social calendric events with elements of the histories of playhouses and companies, argues for Julius Caesar as the opening play at the first Globe.

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The Lord Chamberlain’s Men and the King’s Men

The Globe was exclusively occupied by one group of players: the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, which existed from 1594 to 1603, and a company that subsequently took the name of its new patron, King James I, in 1603. Studies include all aspects of the companies’ work (Thomson 1983, Wells 1992, Grote 2002), ownership of the valuable “books” of the play (Gurr 2009), the distinctive repertory of each company (Knutson 1991), and the training of players (Tribble 2011).

  • Grote, David. The Best Actors in the World: Shakespeare and His Acting Company. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2002.

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    A chronological history of the Chamberlain’s Men and King’s Men companies from 1594 to 1613. Describes particular players and their roles. Appendices on casting, doubling, and shares and sharers in the Globe playhouse.

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  • Gurr, Andrew. “Did Shakespeare Own His Own Playbooks?” Review of English Studies 60.244 (2009): 206–229.

    DOI: 10.1093/res/hgn098Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Whereas sharers of most playing companies did not own the playbooks on which performances were based, those of the Lord Chamberlain’s men did. Shakespeare was “adroit enough as an entrepreneur” to have retained ownership of these documents, perhaps offering them as the price of his share in the company that owned the Globe.

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  • Knutson, Roslyn Lander. The Repertory of Shakespeare’s Company, 1594–1613. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1991.

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    An analysis of the repertory system, audience numbers, and the business imperatives of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men (1594–1603) and the King’s Men (1603–1613) precedes an account of the stake Shakespeare plays had in them.

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  • Thomson, Peter. Shakespeare’s Theatre. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1983.

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    Chronicles the decisions of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men during their first decade at the first Globe, and offers an account of staging practices there, while reminding us that no description of this one metropolitan playing space will explain all the conventions of all the plays performed there, particularly as the “nomadic economy” of the company depended upon not only Bankside but Court and provincial performances.

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  • Tribble, Evelyn B. Cognition in the Globe: Attention and Memory in Shakespeare’s Theatre. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

    DOI: 10.1057/9780230118515Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Uses cognition theory to explain the feats of memory exhibited by early modern players, and considers voice, rhyme, and physical gestures as memory aids. Describes how young players or apprentices may have entered the profession through roles created for children.

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  • Wells, Stanley, ed. Special Issue: Shakespeare and the Globe. Shakespeare Survey 52 (1992).

    DOI: 10.1017/CCOL0521420555Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Contains articles on both the original Globe playhouses and on reconstructions, including Shakespeare’s Globe in London, as well as accounts of early modern and contemporary productions in Renaissance playing spaces. Articles available online by subscription.

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Shakespeare’s Globe

Shakespeare’s Globe is a replica playhouse, inspired by the American actor Sam Wanamaker and built on London’s Bankside. It opened in 1997.

Reconstructing the Globe

Studies include reviews of evidence (Gurr and Orrell 1989, Orrell and Gurr 1989), chronicles and analyses of the work done to prepare for building (Hodges, et al. 1981; Gurr 1993; Hildy 1990; Mulryne and Shewring 1997), and an essay that relates the venture to the “heritage industry” (Holderness 1992).

  • Gurr, Andrew. “Evidence for the Design of the Globe: The Report of a One-Day Seminar Held at Pentagram in London, 10 October 1992.” In The Design of the Globe. Edited by Andrew Gurr, Ronnie Mulryne, and Margaret Shewring, 1–19. London: International Shakespeare Globe Centre, 1993.

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    Summarizes the discussions of the seminar; two appendices to the volume reprint written submissions and the revised drawings of the architect for Shakespeare’s Globe, Theo Crosby, for the reconstruction he had designed.

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  • Gurr, Andrew, and John Orrell. Rebuilding Shakespeare’s Globe. New York: Routledge, 1989.

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    Analyzes what there is to know about the size, orientation, audience accommodation, and so on of the first Globe as a prelude to its reconstruction on London’s Bankside.

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  • Hildy, Franklin J., ed. New Issues in the Reconstruction of Shakespeare’s Theatre: Proceedings of the Conference Held at University of Georgia, February 16–18, 1990. New York and Bern, Switzerland: P. Lang, 1990.

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    Includes essays on textual and visual evidence of Elizabethan theater reconstruction, essays about the new discoveries of 1989, and essays on staging.

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  • Hodges, C. Walter, S. Schoenbaum, and Leonard Leone, eds. The Third Globe: Symposium for the Reconstruction of the Globe Playhouse, Wayne State University, 1979. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1981.

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    Contains essays by John Russell Brown, Herbert Berry, C. Walter Hodges, Richard Hosley, John Orrell, Stuart Eborall Rigold, Bernard Beckerman, M. H. Hummelen, and John Ronayne.

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  • Holderness, Graham. “Shakespeare and Heritage.” Textual Practice 6 (1992): 247–263.

    DOI: 10.1080/09502369208582140Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Holderness writes about the ideological assumptions that shape meanings of the word “heritage,” and discusses plans for the Rose site and Shakespeare’s Globe.

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  • Mulryne, J. R., and Margaret Shewring, eds. Shakespeare’s Globe Rebuilt. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

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    Essays by theater scholars and directors as well as advisers to the architect, Theo Crosby, offer accounts of relevant documents, techniques of timber-framed building and of decorative techniques, and the ways these could be accommodated to modern building regulations. Illustrated.

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  • Orrell, John, and Andrew Gurr. “What the Rose Can Tell Us.” Antiquity 63.240 (1989): 421–429.

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    Excavations at the Rose playhouse site have supplied the dimensions of its polygonal frame; information about its foundations, its frame, and its room; the dimensions of the original stage and its expansion; and the size of the “cover” or roof over the larger stage as well as that of the yard. Also considers implications for the Globe.

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Learning from Performances

Reviews or accounts of particular productions at Shakespeare’s Globe are not included—nor are accounts of the other replica Globes that have been built elsewhere—but surveys and reports of general topics include Gurr 1995, Gurr 2008, Orgel 1998, Kiernan 1999, Rylance and Burnett 2003, and Carson and Karim-Cooper 2008. Shakespeare’s Globe has generated a large number of insights. However, it is perhaps regrettable that there has not really been a series of controlled experiments that might have explored aspects of the playhouse and their uses, concerning which considerable uncertainty remains. One exception is Crystal 2005.

  • Carson, Christie, and Farah Karim-Cooper, eds. Shakespeare’s Globe: A Theatrical Experiment. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

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    Directors, actors, designers, musicians, and educators engage with members of the Globe education staff and international scholars to reflect on the first decade of the “third Globe’s” existence. Appendices include Globe Theater Projects, the draft Artistic Policy of 1988, Alan Dessen’s “Ten Commandments for work on the Globe stage” of 1990, and a list of productions and staged readings (“Read not Dead”).

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  • Crystal, David. Pronouncing Shakespeare: The Globe Experiment. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511487019Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An account of the 2004 attempt to mount a full-length Shakespeare play using original pronunciation at Shakespeare’s Globe. Relates the theater’s approach to “original practices,” which has finally dealt with pronunciation. Describes the Early Modern English sound system, and reports on how the actors coped with the task of learning the pronunciation, how this affected their performances, and how the audiences reacted.

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  • Gurr, Andrew. “Experimenting with the Globe.” Archiv für das Studium der neueren Sprachen und Literaturen 232 (1995): 271–284.

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    Looks forward to a moment when theories concerning acoustics, the upper playing area, entrances, hangings, the stage trap, etc. might be tested in Shakespeare’s Globe on London’s Bankside.

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  • Gurr, Andrew. “Sam Wanamaker’s Invention: Lessons from the New Globe.” In Shakespearean Performance: New Studies. Edited by Frank Occhiogrosso, 110–128. Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2008.

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    Describes what is authentic and what had to be modified (because of modern safely regulations, etc.) in Shakespeare’s Globe. The shape of the playhouse allowed for proximity and audibility for spectators. Analyzes the effects of modifications to stage pillars, the balcony, and the stage entrances that may have taken away from what are believed to have been original playing conventions.

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  • Kiernan, Pauline. Staging Shakespeare at the New Globe. London: St. Martin’s, 1999.

    DOI: 10.1057/9780230380158Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A study of the productions in London in 1996–1997, examining the roles of the audience, dramatic illusion, and what was learned from the physical dimensions and nature of the playing areas. This is followed by tracking the 1997 production of Henry V from conception through to performance and reviews.

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  • Orgel, Stephen. “Shakespeare Performed: What’s the Globe Good For?” Shakespeare Quarterly 49 (1998): 191–194.

    DOI: 10.2307/2902301Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Reports on acoustic and sightline problems the author encountered from his seats in the second tier of galleries when attending performances in 1997, and laments that the plays’ designers had not taken sufficient care to suit the particular shape and special qualities of the playhouse.

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  • Rylance, Mark, and Sheila Burnett. Play: A Recollection in Pictures and Words of the First Five Years of Play at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. London: Shakespeare’s Globe, 2003.

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    Offers a pictorial record of productions mounted during the first five seasons (1996–2001) at Shakespeare’s Globe.

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Early Modern Dramaturgy and Theatrical Practice

This section includes works that survey the arts of early modern dramatists and the ways in which texts might have been realized in production and suited to material theatrical realities, including, of course, those of the two Globe playhouses.

Dramaturgy

Klein 1963 provides a very useful anthology of quotations from play-texts from the period that help us assemble accounts of playmaking from early modern sources. Gurr 1966 problematizes and clarifies key terms, and, with textual evidence, Gurr 2000 supplements arguments, derived from theatrical evidence, against claims that Shakespeare sought a degree of realism.

  • Gurr, Andrew. “Elizabethan Action.” Studies in Philology 63.2 (1966): 144–156.

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    Demonstrates how the word “acting” evolved from the designation of “the outward motions of the orator” to a word meaning “character impersonation,” and explores the confusions that arose between the orator’s “real” and the player’s “feigned” passion, and over the meanings ascribed to words like “natural,” “imitation,” “lively,” and “personation.”

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  • Gurr, Andrew. “Metatheatre and the Fear of Playing.” In Neo-historicism: Studies in Renaissance Literature, History and Politics. Edited by Robin Headlam Wells, Glenn Burgess and Rowland Wymer, 91–110. Woodbridge, UK: D. S. Brewer, 2000.

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    Argues that Shakespeare incorporated metatheatrical devices into his texts, and that the stagings of the endings of plays were designed to suppress any effects of realism and to counter the fear that play-acting provides an opportunity for satanic deception.

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  • Klein, David. The Elizabethan Dramatists as Critics. London: Peter Owen, 1963.

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    A useful anthology of extracts from early modern dramatic texts that enables readers to explore allusions to and discussions of playing, genres, comedy, laughter, imagination, masques, prologues, speech, spectators, and so on.

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Theater Practice

General surveys include Hattaway 1982 and Gurr and Ichikawa 2000. Evidence of what happened on stage can be derived from stage directions embedded in texts (Dessen and Thomson 1999, Dessen 2001, and Dessen 2006). Edelman 1992 analyzes particular “presentational” skills, and Baskervill 1929 demonstrates how performances were supplemented by jigs.

  • Baskervill, Charles Read. The Elizabethan Jig and Related Song Drama. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1929.

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    Traces the history of the jig, generally a burlesque short play containing verse song, pantomime, and dance, from its beginnings through the medieval and early modern period. Jigs were often performed as tailpieces to more serious plays, and they often featured famous clowns like Tarlton and Kemp.

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  • Dessen, Alan C. “The Body of Stage Directions.” Shakespeare Studies 29 (2001): 27–35.

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    Specific references to bodies and parts of the body are comparatively rare; Dessen offers a short summary of what is to be found, and he concludes that explicit references are often attached to supernatural events or moments when bodies are violated.

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  • Dessen, Alan C. “Staging Matters: Shakespeare, the Director, and the Theatre Historian.” Proceedings of the British Academy 139 (2006): 35–54.

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    Notes what can be learned from the analysis of stage directions in early Quarto and Folio editions, but wonders whether modern directors should seek to recreate theatrical images, the import of which would be wasted on modern spectators who cannot be expected to be aware of their original significance. Such analysis, however, reveals moments of rich and complex meaning.

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  • Dessen, Alan C., and Leslie Thomson. A Dictionary of Stage Directions in English Drama, 1580–1642. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

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    An index of over nine hundred terms, designating actions, places, objects, sounds, and descriptions found in stage directions of English professional plays from the 1580s to the 1640s, drawn from a database of some 22,000 stage directions found in about five hundred plays.

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  • Edelman, Charles. Brawl Ridiculous: Swordfighting in Shakespeare’s Plays. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1992.

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    Analyzes the staging of swordplay—in battle scenes, duels, and fencing matches—and argues that these sequences are integral to the poetic and dramatic textures of Shakespeare’s plays. Finds that Shakespeare fosters spectators’ enthusiasm for fencing matches as well as their taste for neo-medievalism to utilize swordplay more frequently than any of his peers.

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  • Gurr, Andrew, and Mariko Ichikawa. Staging in Shakespeare’s Theatres. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

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    A reconstruction of the period’s staging conventions that draws upon evidence from theatrical documents, archaeological excavations, and early-modern play-texts. Offers an account of rehearsal practices and acting techniques and relates these to the physical dimensions of the playing spaces and the configuration of entrances onto the stage. Concludes with a study of how Hamlet would have been staged.

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  • Hattaway, Michael. Elizabethan Popular Theatre: Plays in Performance. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1982.

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    Chapters on playhouses and stages, performances, and players and playing are followed by studies of the stage of particular plays, including Titus Andronicus.

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Preparing for Performance

Information can be inferred from theatrical documents: essays on authorial manuscripts, the “book” of the play, “plots,” and “parts” are to be found in Holland and Orgel 2004, Holland and Orgel 2006, Kathman 2004, and Palfrey and Stern 2007. Stern 2000 gives a succinct account of what can be known about practices of rehearsal.

  • Holland, Peter, and Stephen Orgel, eds. From Script to Stage in Early Modern England. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.

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    Chapters, by various writers, on “Henslowe’s Rose/Shakespeare’s Globe”; “Masks, Mimes and Miracles: Medieval English Theatricality and Its Illusions”; “A New Theater Historicism”; “Staging Evidence”; “Re-patching the play”; “Labours Lost: Women’s Work and Early Modern Theatrical Commerce”; and “Rehearsing Shakespeare’s Women.”

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  • Holland, Peter, and Stephen Orgel, eds. From Performance to Print in Shakespeare’s England. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.

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    Include essays on the “book” of the play; the marketing of Shakespeare; title pages and the theater industry to 1610; the performance of genders in print; sight and sound and text; living theater, rhetoric, discipline, and the theatricality of everyday life in Elizabethan grammar schools; and Robert Armin.

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  • Kathman, David. “Reconsidering The Seven Deadly Sins.” Early Theatre 7.1 (2004): 13–44.

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    An important analysis of a theatrical “plot,” seemingly a guide for the book-holder that hung in the tiring-house during performances.

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  • Palfrey, Simon, and Tiffany Stern. Shakespeare in Parts. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199272051.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analyzes one of the textual forms in which Shakespeare’s plays originally circulated, the actor’s “part.” These reproduced only the cues and speeches for each individual player’s contribution. Rehearsals were sparse, and actors had to derive both character and role from these parts, although this must have generated many gaps in what would now be taken as necessary knowledge, thus generating alertness during performance.

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  • Stern, Tiffany. Rehearsal from Shakespeare to Sheridan. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

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    Describes “rehearsal” processes: there was no director and “actors were subservient” to the play.

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  • Stern, Tiffany. Documents of Performance in Early Modern England. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511635625Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A vital study of the processes of running a performance and the implications for the consideration of play-texts.

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Dressing the Stage

The meaning or effect of performance is created not only by speech but also by nonverbal codes: stage furniture (Hosley 1963), costumes and properties (Foakes 2002, Harris and Korda 2002, Lublin 2011), lighting (Graves 1999), and make-up (Drew-Bear 1994).

  • Drew-Bear, Annette. Painted Faces on the Renaissance Stage: The Moral Significance of Face-Painting Conventions. Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 1994.

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    Shows how the painted face functions as a theatrical signal in Renaissance drama. Explaining the connection between red, white, and black make-up and sexual sin, devilish corruption, and poison, the author surveys how playwrights used face paint in tragedy to express a wide range of corruption, and in comedy to exploit the bawdy meanings of “fucus.”

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  • Foakes, R. A., ed. Henslowe’s Diary. 2d ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

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    Includes inventories of costumes and properties owned by the companies run by Philip Henslowe, which must have resembled those owned by the companies with which Shakespeare was associated at the Globe. Lists of performances and takings at them cast light on repertory and business systems.

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  • Graves, R. B. Lighting the Shakespearean Stage, 1567–1642. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1999.

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    Describes the kinds of lights and lighting in early modern playhouses, and how these may have influenced responses to performances.

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  • Gurr, Andrew. “The Bare Island.” Shakespeare Survey 47 (1995): 29–43.

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    The title (from Prospero’s epilogue to The Tempest) designates not only the play’s fictional setting but also the stage, stripped of players and stage furniture. Gurr recapitulates what is known about the shape of the stage and the tiring-house frons, the discovery space, the cellarage and the trapdoor down to it, the “heavens” and the posts that supported that structure, the balcony, windows, stage furniture and its positioning, hangings, and entrances from the yard to the galleries.

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  • Harris, Jonathan Gil, and Natasha Korda, eds. Staged Properties in Early Modern English Drama. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

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    Essays on the material, economic, and dramatic roles played by stage properties—there were more than used to be thought—in early modern English drama. The emphasis here is materialist: the essays offers evidence into the modes of production, circulation, and exchange that brought such properties as sacred garments, household furnishings, pawned objects, and even false beards on to the stage.

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  • Hosley, Richard. “The Staging of Desdemona’s Bed.” Shakespeare Quarterly 14.1 (1963): 57–65.

    DOI: 10.2307/2868138Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    After an examination of twenty-three texts containing bed-scenes dating from 1595 until 1642, Hosley argues that Othello’s original staging “did not require the use of a discovery-space”; he suggests, instead, that Desdemona’s bed was brought on stage.

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  • Lublin, Robert I. Costuming the Shakespearean Stage: Visual Codes of Representation in Early Modern Theatre and Culture. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2011.

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    An opening account of the costumes and fashions available for wear on the Elizabethan stage precedes an analysis of categories of representation for sex and gender, social station, foreigners, and religion. This is followed by an account of the costume codes at play in the King’s Men’s production of Middleton’s A Game at Chess (1624).

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Music, the Aural, and the Visual

Studies of how language was heard (Magnus and Cannon 2012) are supplemented by accounts of playhouse music (Hosley 1960, Lindley 2006), by general accounts of sound in the world of early modern England (Smith 1999) and of visual languages (Vaughan, et al. 2010).

  • Hosley, Richard. “Was There a Music-Room in Shakespeare’s Globe?” Shakespeare Survey 13 (1960): 113–123.

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    Elizabethan playhouse musicians would have occupied part of the tiring-house balcony (and not the top level immediately under the hut), where they would have been visible but not too prominent, but only after about 1609, under the influence of the new King’s Men’s Blackfriars playhouse, a time that might have seen the introduction of music between acts.

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  • Lindley, David. Shakespeare and Music. London: Thomson Learning, 2006.

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    Describes Elizabethan theories of music along with the experiences of hearing music in streets, taverns, private houses, at court, and in playhouses, before turning to ways in which music could be an emblem of harmony, an incitement to effeminacy, possessed of a power to heal or to incite to drunken events, or have other meanings and uses. These concepts are then applied to a comprehensive set of effects in Shakespearean performances.

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  • Magnus, Laury, and Walter W. Cannon, eds. Who Hears in Shakespeare? Auditory Worlds on Stage and Screen. Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2012.

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    Essays that explore auditory dimensions of early modern performances, including an examination of architecture, playing spaces, blocking, examples of players’ responses to what they hear and mishear, as well as soliloquies, asides, overhearing, and so on.

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  • Smith, Bruce R. The Acoustic World of Early Modern England: Attending to the O-Factor. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999.

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    This study of oral and aural culture, of “acoustemology” and “protocols for talking and listening,” includes a chapter that describes how the playhouses were instruments for the production and reception of sound. Examines “acoustic space” in Shakespeare’s plays, looking at the interaction of “oratory, conversation, and liturgy,” and focusing on Othello, The Merchant of Venice, and The Tempest.

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  • Vaughan, Virginia Mason, Fernando Cioni, and Jacquelyn Bessell, eds. Speaking Pictures: The Visual/Verbal Nexus of Dramatic Performance. Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2010.

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    Essays explore negotiations between seeing and hearing in playhouses and in pageantry by examining special effects (fog, etc.), stage directions, texts, and archival evidence. “The collection concludes with a discussion of the contemporary actor’s challenge in physicalizing the language of early modern plays, especially Shakespeare’s.”

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Drama and Society

The social spaces occupied by playhouses and players on tour are analyzed in Mullaney 1995, Dillon 2000, and, by analogy with nondramatic performance spaces, Höfele 2011. Economic “space” and practices are described in Knutson 2001, ideological ones in Montrose 1996 and Pollard 2004.

  • Dillon, Janette. Theatre, Court and City 1595–1610: Drama and Social Space in London. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

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    As the number of professional playhouses proliferated, companies undertook less provincial touring and orientated themselves more toward both the city and the court, driven by their attention to fashion and commercialism and the development of a “West End” along the Strand. Attention is focused around physical and social forms of theater space, looking at Shakespeare’s Love’s Labor’s Lost and Jonson’s Epicoene, among others.

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  • Dutton, Richard. Licensing, Censorship, and Authorship in Early Modern England. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave, 2000.

    DOI: 10.1057/9780230598713Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Although modern conceptions of copyright had not emerged, Shakespeare wrote for both playgoers and readers. The practice of censorship shaped writing in the Shakespearean period, and a modern sense of that censorship continues to shape understandings of what was written. Separate chapters trace the development of licensing in the theater and the response of the actors and dramatists to it.

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  • Höfele, Andreas. Stage, Stake, and Scaffold: Humans and Animals in Shakespeare’s Theatre. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199567645.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Compares performances in early modern playhouses with the spectacles of bear-baiting and execution, and then explores interactions between men and beasts in particular plays.

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  • Knutson, Roslyn Lander. Playing Companies and Commerce in Shakespeare’s Time. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511486043Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Suggesting the guild as a model of economic cooperation, Knutson considers the networks of fellowship among players, the marketing strategies of the repertory, and company relationships with playwrights and members of the book trade. Challenges two views about theatrical commerce: that companies engaged in cut-throat rivalry, and that companies based business decisions on the personal and professional quarrels of the players and dramatists.

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  • Montrose, Louis. The Purpose of Playing: Shakespeare and the Cultural Politics of the Elizabethan Theatre. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.

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    Locates public and professional theater within the ideological and material frameworks of Elizabethan culture, calling into question the absolutist assertions of the Elizabethan state. The author demonstrates how language and the literary imagination shape cultural values and beliefs, as well as social distinction and interaction and political control and contestation. Offers an extended analysis of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

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  • Mullaney, Steven. The Place of the Stage: License, Play, and Power in Renaissance England. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1995.

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    The marginal locations of the playhouses around London created an ambivalent status for them, but these locations also licensed a wide-ranging ideological critique of politics and institutions.

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  • Pollard, Tanya, ed. Shakespeare’s Theater: A Sourcebook. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2004.

    DOI: 10.1002/9780470752975Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A useful anthology of early texts concerning anti-theatrical prejudice and the morality of playing that relates these topics to literary, social, political, and religious contexts.

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