English Court Theatre, 1558-1642

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Several famous playwrights of the Elizabethan and Stuart periods, including Shakespeare, wrote for open-air public theatres and also for the private, indoor theatres at the palaces at which the court resided. This book is a full account of such court theatre, and examines the theatrical entertainments for Elizabeth I, James I and Charles I. By contrast with the now vanished playhouses of the time, four of the royal chambers used as theatres survive, and the author attempts to draw as full a picture as he can of such places, the physical and aesthetic conditions under which actors worked in them, and the composition and conduct of court audiences. The book includes plans and illustrations of the theatres and an appendix which lists all known court performances of plays and masques between 1558 and 1652.