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William Shakespeare
More than a poet in tights.
Well-known Facts about Will
Great writer of England
Plays translated into all
languages, musicals,
Born Stratford-uponAvon
Well-to-do, affluent
while alive
Most quoted, other
than the Bible
A few interesting Facts about William
William Shakespeare was born on April 23,
He died in 1616…
…on his birthday.
Shakespeare created more than
1700 of our commonly-used words.
What was a Shakespearean play like?
Many people today think that a
Shakespearean play must be crusty and
…but a play by William Shakespeare
had all of the things that make
movies so popular today!
King Lear got his EYES gouged out!
Romeo and Juliet could hardly wait until
they got married!
Wild Parties
Falstaff (Richard II) was ALWAYS drunk.
A Shakespearean play was a VERY
exciting time in England.
To get the right perspective, imagine the
opening night of a hit movie by a very
popular actor or director.
That’s what going to a Shakespeare production was like!
Shakespeare presented his plays in
the Globe Theatre
The Globe
Built in 1599
 Across the Thames- “Wrong side of town”
 King’s Players - Shakespeare’s company
There were two types of seats an
audience member could get…
The upper-class English citizen could sit in
the Gallery….
They had benches
to sit on, and could buy pillows for their backsides.
…while the less fortunate people had to
stand on the ground!
But being a groundling wasn’t all
Quite often, the groundlings would take part
in ‘audience participation’.
They would bring bags of tomatoes, old
potatoes, etc…..
If a ‘bad guy’ walked onto the stage…he
would often get pelted with stinky
Keep that in mind next time you’re at the
The Globe was an open-air theatre.
Why do you think this is important?
The Globe was an open-air theatre.
The audience was open to the weather
(really only an issue for the groundlings).
 Shakespeare had to describe things like
the moon, the sun, windstorms, etc by
writing them into his script, or pointing to
pictures of the sun and moon.
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
(click the theatre for a tour)
All men
 Female parts played
by young boys
 No actual kissing or
hugging on stage
The groundling
Poor audience
 Stood around stage
in “the pit”
 Women not allowed
(had to dress up as
men to attend)
 Threw rotten
vegetables at bad
Mr.Ball…this is the end of the real Globe
info. It gets a bit repetitive for a while.
Skip ahead to the slide BEFORE the Bear
Garden bit.
 Good job…you’re awesome.
Shakespeare's Globe was the most popular
English theater of its time, frequented by people
from all walks of Elizabethan life.
 From 1599 until 1640 the audiences at the Globe
consisted of people from a variety of social and
cultural backgrounds. Peasants, prostitutes,
merchants, labourers, wealthy citizens and lords
and ladies frequented the playhouses of
Shakespeare’s London.
Why was the Globe built?
The Lord Chamberlain’s
Men (Shakespeare’s
acting troupe) needed
a place to perform
their plays so they
could compete with
other acting troupes.
History of the Globe Theatre
Built in 1598 and opened in 1599
 Burned down in1613 from a cannon blast
during the play “Henry VIII”
 Rebuilt and reopened in 1614
 Closed down by Puritans in 1642 and was
torn down in 1644
 In 1996 a replica was built on the original
Facts about the Globe Theatre
Original Globe was 3 stories and held
about 3000 people.
 Although most of Shakespeare’s plays
were held there, he only owned 12% of
the theatre.
 Located in Southwark near the Thames
River (just outside of London).
Entrance View
Everybody entered at
the same place
regardless of where
you paid to sit or
 The stage juts out
onto the floor, so
some people would
view from the side.
Floor View
Poor people could get
into plays for little
money, but had to stand.
They were known as
It would be very difficult
to see unless you were
right next to the stage.
Plays often lasted 4-6
hours and the
Groundlings would stand
the whole time.
Second Floor View
The middle to upper
class people could
afford to sit on the
second level.
 The second level
wrapped around both
sides of the stage.
Third Floor View
Only the upper class
could afford seats on
the third level.
 For extra money they
could get a padded
Stage View
The actors had to
deal with many
Weather (no roof)
 Rowdy Audience
 Fruits and Veggies
thrown at them if the
play or the acting was
The Tiring House
The tiring house (or ‘attiring house’) was
the area behind the stage where costumes
and props were stored and where actors
dressed to prepare themselves before
their performances. The most expensive
items owned by acting companies were
their costumes.
Costumes had two functions on the Elizabethan
stage. First, they created a spectacular effect,
since many of the clothes actors wore on stage
were made of fine materials such as silk, velvet
and taffeta.
 The second function of costume was to help the
audience identify the characters: a clown, a
nurse, a shepherd or a king would be instantly
During Shakespeare’s lifetime, there were
laws forbidding people from wearing
clothes better than their social rank,
making it easy to identify the social status
of people on the streets.
 So, if an actor who played a king wore his
costume outside of the playhouse he could
be prosecuted.
The Heavens, Earth & Hell
The trapdoor would lead to the area under
the stage, known sometimes as hell or the
underworld at the new Globe. It is likely to
have served as Ophelia’s grave in Hamlet
and as the tomb of the Andronici in Titus
The stage roof was referred to as the
The Globe Theatre was a huge success
and as it had been built in close proximity
to the Bear Garden. The profits of the
Bear Garden slumped and in 1614.
Bear Garden?
Bear-baiting was popular in England until the
nineteenth century. From the sixteenth century,
many herds of bears were maintained for
 In its best-known form, arenas for this purpose
were called bear-gardens, consisting of a circular
high fenced area, the "pit", and raised seating
for spectators.
 A post would be set in the ground towards the
edge of the pit and the bear chained to it, either
by the leg or neck.
A number of well-trained hunting dogs
would then be set on it, being replaced as
they tired or were wounded or killed. In
some cases the bear was let loose,
allowing it to chase after animals or
 For a long time, the main bear-garden in
London was the Paris Garden at
The Competition
Public executions
Conditions in London-BAD!
Thames River
polluted with raw
 Trees used up for
 Poverty
Personal hygiene/health
Bathing considered dangerous
 Body odor strong
 Childhood diseases
 Children often died before 5 years
 Small Pox
 Bubonic Plague
Living Conditions
 No
 Chamber Pots
 Open Sewers
 Crowded
• The stage platform was earth and the
space beneath the stage was called hell.
• This symbolism suggested, as
Shakespeare often declared, that the
theatre was like a little world, and
therefore the world was like a theatre: ‘All
the world’s a stage…’. Why else would
Shakespeare’s playhouse be called the
The Reconstructed Globe
• In 1949, when Sam Wanamaker came to
London for the first time, he looked for the
site of the original Globe and was
disappointed not to find a more lasting
memorial to one of the greatest
playwrights in the world.
• In 1970 he founded the Shakespeare
Globe Trust.
• In 1987, building work began on the site.
• In 1993, the construction of the Globe
Theatre itself began.
• Sadly, Sam Wanamaker died on 18
December 1993. At that time, twelve of the
fifteen bays had been erected. The
plasterwork and thatching began the
following year and were completed in
• If you ever get the chance to visit London I
am sure the Globe Theatre will be #1 on
your things to do list, with your new found
interest in Shakespeare!
But Shakespeare is so tough to understand,
with all the ‘thou’s and ‘wherefore’s’ and
‘heretowhithers’….I don’t understand!
No problem….
Shakespearean plays are not meant to be
read silently…..
…..plays need to be watched!
But first a few questions…
Can a play that was written 410 years ago,
be interesting today?
Can it use the same language?
Will we be able to understand it?
Will this presentation EVER end?
Before it does, here are a few
things to look for…
The narrator…
This is the actor who would let the audience
know what scene was supposed to be.
The narrator would open and close the play.
Check out the narrator in the play we watch.
Are you ready?
Let’s Do it!
But before we do, here are a few
things to look for…
“Old-fashioned words”…..
I’ll be stopping the play to explain these…
It will become annoying…
Today’s Feature Presentation….
William Shakespeare’s
Romeo and Juliet
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