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Where were William Shakespeare's plays performed?

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Quick Answer

Shakespeare's plays were performed in several different playhouses, private theaters and provincial theaters. They were also performed in London's great halls and inns. The most famous theater associated with productions of Shakespeare's plays was the Globe Theater.

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Full Answer

The Globe Theater was constructed in 1599 for the acting troupe called The Lord Chamberlain's Men, and in that year, the theater hosted its first performances of Shakespeare's plays. In 1613, a cannon ball set off during one Shakespeare production ended up burning the theater down. Within a year, the theater had been rebuilt. This version of the theater lasted until 1644 when it was torn down. A reconstruction of the Globe has been built near the old location.

Unlike theaters of more modern times, those in the Elizabethan era were open to all sides. Audience members did not only see the front of the stage. The upper class sat up in balconies, so they were able to see more of the stage, while the lower class, often called groundlings, stood around the stage on the ground in the area called the pit.

Another difference between modern times and that of Shakespeare was scene design. In the Elizabethan era, curtains were not closed to change scenes; the play was often stopped to move unessential backdrops or props. Plays of that era more heavily relied on costumes, so not many different sets were actually needed.

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