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Shakespeare: English Renaissance Theatre

Shakespeare resources for theatre students.

The Swan Theatre

"A performance in progress at the Swan theatre in London in 1596," sketch by Aernout van Buchel. (CC0, Public Domain)

Acting Companies

Theatre Architecture

What is English renaissance theatre (Elizabethan theatre)?

"Elizabethan theatre, sometimes called English Renaissance theatre, refers to that style of performance plays which blossomed during the reign of Elizabeth I of England (r. 1558-1603 CE) and which continued under her Stuart successors. Elizabethan theatre witnessed the first professional actors who belonged to touring troupes and who performed plays of blank verse with entertaining non-religious themes.

The first purpose-built permanent theatre was established in London in 1576 CE and others quickly followed so that drama simply to entertain became a booming industry. Theatres showing plays daily led to permanent acting companies which did not have to tour and so could invest more time and money into wowing their audience of both sexes and all social classes. The most celebrated playwright of the period was William Shakespeare (1564-1616 CE) whose works were performed at the famous Globe Theatre in London and covered such diverse themes as history, romance, revenge, murder, comedy and tragedy." -- World History Encyclopedia

General Resources

English Renaissance Playwrights

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