In the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, Shakespeare’s plays were performed at professional playhouses such as the Globe and the Rose, as well as at the Inns of Court, the houses of noblemen, and at the Queen’s palace. In fact, the playing company The Queen’s Men was formed at the express command of Elizabeth I to provide entertainment for the Court and ended up dominating the English stage during the 1580s. As later playing companies, such as the Admiral’s Men and the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, rose to notoriety, the repertory system aided in appeasing the demand from audiences and provided players with the opportunity to perform in a diverse selection of plays. Other innovations, such as enhanced special effects and explorations into different styles of plays, ultimately enabled English theatre to evolve and expand into what we recognize it as today.
Image: “The Plays of William Shakespeare” by John Gilbert. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons