Picture of the Globe Theatre

Elizabethan Theatre History Timeline

  • The Elizabethan Theatre Timeline
  • The Rise and Fall of the Elizabethan Theatre
  • Closure of Elizabethan Theatres - the Bubonic Plague, London Authorities and the Puritans
  • Important dates and events in Elizabethan Theatre History

Picture of the Globe Theatre

Elizabethan Theatre History

The history of the Elizabethan Theatre is a short and turbulent one as the Elizabethan Theatre Timeline will clearly indicate. The success and popularity of the Elizabethan theatre during the life of Shakespeare is an outstanding success story for the theatrical entrepreneurs of the era. The Elizabethan era saw the rise in the popularity of theatres and during this time the staging of plays moved from renovated inn-yards to the building of huge out door amphitheatres, such as the Globe, which were used for the summer seasons and the building or renovation of indoor theatres, used in the Winter seasons and by royalty, called Playhouses. The history of the Elizabethan Theatre started in 1576 as the Elizabethan Theatre timeline shows.


The Rise and Fall of the Elizabethan Theaters - the Timeline

The rise of the Elizabethan theatres start in 1576 but by 1648 theatres and playhouses were ordered to be pulled down, all players to be seized and whipped, and anyone caught attending a play to be fined five shillings. What events took place to lead to such a reverse of fortune for the theatres?  What happened? The timeline and history of the Elizabethan Theatre provides all of the answers.

History and Timeline of the Elizabethan Theatre


The Elizabethan Theater History and Timeline

Please refer to the Elizabethan Era sitemap for further details of all Shakespearean and Elizabethan history and timeline information.

1564 April 23 William Shakespeare was born
1576 James Burbage (father of the actor, Richard Burbage) obtains lease and permission to build 
        'The Theatre' in Shoreditch, London. The Lord Chamberlain's Men use it from 1594 to 1596
1577 Another open air amphitheatre called The Curtain opens in Finsbury Fields, Shoreditch, London
Open air amphitheatre The Rose, Bankside, Surrey is opened
1593 Theatres close due to the Bubonic Plague (The Black Death)
1594 The Lord Chamberlain's Company (formally known as 'Lord Stranges Men') was formed.
1595 March 15, First document mentioning Shakespeare connected with the Theatre
1596 From 1596 to 1597 London's authorities banned the public presentation of plays within the city
         limits of London


1596 James Burbage purchases Blackfriars and converts it to a theatre. Unable to get permission to open
         as a theatre it stands empty
1597 Dispute over the lease of 'the Theatre'. The Puritan owner, Giles Allen. disapproved of the Theatre
         and the acting troupe. Burbage opens negotiations to re-new the lease of the 'Theatre'
1597 Shakespeare's company of actors moved to the Curtain Theatre after failed negotiations for a new
         lease for the 'Theatre'
1598 Christmas - Timber from the 'Theatre' taken to use for the building of a new theatre to be called the
1599 The Globe Theatre is opened on Bankside
1600 Richard Burbage is forced to lease out Blackfriars.
1603 The Bubonic Plague (The Black Death) again ravages London killing 33,000 people - all theatres close
1613 June 29, Fire at the Globe Theatre
1614 Globe Theatre was rebuilt on original foundations, this time the roof is tiled, not thatched
1616 April 25, Burial of William Shakespeare in the chancel of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford.
1642 The English Civil War beaks out between the Parliamentarians (Puritans) and the Royalists
September 2 - Parliament issues an ordinance suppressing all stage plays

1644 The Globe Theatre demolished by the Puritans. 15th April - Landowner Sir Matthew Brend
         demolishes the Globe and builds tenement houses on the site
1647 Even stricter rules passed by the Puritans restricting the staging of plays
1648 The Puritans ordered all playhouses and theatres to be pulled down, all players to be seized and
          whipped, and anyone caught attending a play to be fined five shillings.
1649 The Civil War finally leads to the terrible execution of King Charles I by the Parliamentarians
1653 Oliver Cromwell becomes Lord Protector of England
1658 Cromwell dies and the power of the Puritan starts to decline
1660 King Charles II is restored to the throne of England
1660 The Restoration, and the demise in the power of the Puritans, sees the opening of the theatres     
Elizabethan Theatre History and Timeline

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Elizabethan Theatre History Timeline


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