In 1558 when Elizabeth the first gained the throne actors had no defined theatres. After laws were passed it was made unlawful for actors to tour and perform without support of a member of the highest ranks of the nobility. In order for actors to perform a theatre was built.Such indoor theatres were called playhouses.
There are basically two main types of Elizabethan theatres: the public amphitheatre buildings such as the Theatre, the Globe, the Curtain and the Swan which were similar in that they were open to the sky, smaller and more expensive. The other is the private theatres such as Blackfriars and the Cockpit which were built to a hall design in enclosed and usually rectangular buildings like theatres that exist today.
‘The Theatre’ was the first theatre that was built in 1576. It was built by the Earl of Leicester’s players who were led by James Burbage.
However, ‘the theatre’ met its demise in 1597 when it was torn to pieces. Fortunately, six months later it was rebuilt and renamed ‘the Globe.’ many of Shakespeare’s plays were performed at ‘the Globe.’
The original globe theatre was built in 1599 but in 1613, when a cannon fired as a part of a performance of Henry viii ignited theatres thatched roof, it burnt down. It was later rebuilt but the Puritans had it permanently closed in 1642.
The Elizabethan theatres that followed took on many plays by a few playwrights such include:
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare.
Hamlet by William Shakespeare.
Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare.
Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare.
Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare.
Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare.
Henry V by William Shakespeare.
Richard III by William Shakespeare.
Edward II by Christopher Marlowe.
Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe.
Jew of Malta by Christopher Marlowe.
The Spanish Tragedy by Thomas Kyd.
Every Man in His Humour by Ben Jonson - the version set in Italy, the other was Jacobean.
The Shoemaker’s Holiday by Thomas Dekker.
A Woman Killed with Kindness by Thomas Heywood.
King Leir (Anonymous) - the play on which Shakespeare based his own Jacobean King Lear.
Arden of Faversham (Anonymous).