Elizabethan Theatre


Elizabethan theatre, sometimes called English Renaissance theatre, refers to that style of performance plays which blossomed during the reign of Elizabeth I of England (r. 1558-1603) and which continued under her Stuart successors. Elizabethan theatre witnessed the first professional actors who belonged to touring troupes and who performed plays of blank verse with entertaining non-religious themes.

More about: Elizabethan Theatre


  • 1559
    Elizabeth Io England prohibits the performance of unlicensed plays.
  • 1564 - 1616
    Life of William Shakespeare.
  • 1564 - 1593
    Life of the English poet and playwright Christopher Marlowe.
  • 1572
    Only nobles are now permitted to sponsor plays and acting companies.
  • 1572 - 1637
    Life of the poet and playwright Ben Jonson.
  • 1574
    Introduction of licensing for all acting companies in England.
  • 1576
    The first purpose-built and permanent theatre in England is built in London, the Theatre.
  • 1585
    The first performance of Richard Tarlton's 'Seven Deadly Sins'.
  • 1587
    The Rose theatre opens in London.
  • c. 1587
    The first performance of Christopher Marlowe's 'Tamburlaine the Great'.
  • c. 1589
    William Shakespeare writes his first play, 'Henry VI Part I'.
  • 1592
    A wave of Black Death plague closes all theatres in London for one year.
  • 1595
    The Swan theatre opens in London.
  • c. 1596
    The first performance of William Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream'.
  • 1597
    The first performance of Ben Jonson's 'Isle of Dogs'.
  • 1599
    Opening of the Globe Theatre in London.
  • 1599
    The first performance of William Shakespeare's 'Henry V'.
  • c. 1601
    The first performance of William Shakespeare's 'Hamlet'.
  • 1606
    The first performance of William Shakespeare's 'Macbeth'.
  • 1614
    The Globe Theatre in London is rebuilt after the original was destroyed by fire.
  • 1623
    The First Folio is printed, a collection of 36 of William Shakespeare’s plays.
  • 1642 - 1660
    Puritans ensure the closure of all theatres in England.