The Elizabethan Amphitheatre - 'Legitimising' the Elizabethan Theatre
James Burbage wanted to enhance the tarnished reputation of the Elizabethan theatre and its actors. Dr. John Dee clearly helped him to achieve this goal. Building The Theatre in the style of the ancient amphitheatre provided the opportunity to draw strong comparisons with the classical Greek theater thus providing a means to 'legitimise' the Elizabethan theatre. The Roman Amphitheater design was therefore perceived as an excellent idea. Not only did this make perfect financial sense but it also linked the Elizabethan theater of the Renaissance period with the much admired classical theater and literature of the Greeks and Romans. The Elizabethan playwrights, such as Christopher Marlowe, continued this theme by producing Tragedies and Comedies of a similar genre. William Shakespeare himself drew on the history of the ancients in Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra. The huge popularity of the Roman Amphitheater was about to be repeated many hundreds of years later in Renaissance England.
Elizabethan Amphitheatre Interiors
The picture at the top of the page depicts the Swan theatre and was sketched by Johannes de Witt, a Dutch traveller. Johannes de Witt visited the Swan on his travels to England and the sketch is dated between 1596-1598. The picture was accompanied by some notes which are probably the single most important source of our information and facts about the internal layout of a London amphitheatre. The information consisted of a diary note together with a sketch of the internal layout of the Swan Theatre. All of the London Elizabethan amphitheatres were similar in design, so the picture of the Swan can be used a good guide to the structure and layout of the old Globe Theatre and other Elizabethan amphitheatres.
Elizabethan Amphitheatres in London
The Elizabethan amphitheatres which entertained the people in London included The Theatre, Newington Butts, the Curtain, the Rose, the Swan, the Fortune, The Boars Head, the Red Bull, the Bear Garden, the Bull Ring, the Hope and, of course the Globe Theatre.
Facts about London Amphitheaters
|1576||The Theatre, Finsbury Fields, Shoreditch, London|
|1576||Newington Butts Elizabethan Theatre, Southwark, Surrey|
|1577||The Curtain Elizabethan Theatre, Finsbury Fields, Shoreditch, London|
|1587||The Rose Elizabethan Theatre, Bankside, Surrey|
|1595||The Swan Elizabethan Theatre, Paris Garden, Surrey (See Top Picture)|
|1599||The Globe, Bankside, Surrey|
|1600||The Fortune Elizabethan Theatre, Golding Lane, Clerkenwell|
|1600||The Boar's Head Elizabethan Theatre, Whitechapel, London|
|1604||The Red Bull Elizabethan Theatre, Clerkenwell|
|1576||The Bear Garden Elizabethan Theatre Bankside, Surrey|
|1576||The Bull Ring Bankside, Surrey|
|1614||The Hope Elizabethan Theatre Bankside, Surrey|
An Elizabethan Amphitheatre
The history of the Elizabethan Amphitheatre clearly started with the construction of The Theatre in 1576 by the Elizabethan theatrical entrepreneur James Burbage. For additional information about the Elizabethan Amphitheatres please click the following link Elizabethan Theatres