Elizabethan Theatre, Queen Elizabeth I and William Shakespeare


Kelly Macquire
published on 12 October 2021

The term Elizabethan Theatre naturally refers to the style of theatre being composed and performed in England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, which continued under her Stuart successors and is best known through the works of the playwright William Shakespeare. Elizabeth reigned as Queen Elizabeth I of England for 44 years between 1558 CE until her death in 1603 CE, succeeding her half sister Mary I of England. Elizabeth was known as the Virgin Queen since she refused to marry, and was both a capable and shrewd leader.

What we see in Elizabethan theatre is the first professional troupes of actors, sponsored by the queen, nobles, and anyone else who had enough money to fund performances. Plays were now entirely free from religious themes, which is perhaps due to the Protestant Reformation which, in England, resulted in a split from the Catholic Church thanks to Henry VIII in 1533. The Reformation allowed for greater freedom of expression on many levels including public entertainment.

The most well known and popular Elizabethan playwright, of course, is Willian Shakespeare, who was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon in 1564. He became known in theatre circles in 1592 and he joined Chamberlain’s Men two years later. Shakespeare wrote 37 plays which was around 2 a year, as well as a number of poems and sonnets. His plays are often categorised into Histories, Comedies and Tragedies, and he is known to have invented or adapted over 1,700 common English words.

You can find all attribution and credits for images, animations, graphics and music here - https://worldhistory.typehut.com/elizabethan-theatre-queen-elizabeth-i-and-william-shakespeare-images-and-attributions-6464

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Greg Joy (SOCAN)

The Globe Theatre
Kelly Macquire

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About the Author

Kelly Macquire
Kelly is a graduate from Monash University who has completed her BA (Honours) in Ancient History and Archaeology, focussing on iconography and status in Pylos burials. She has a passion for mythology and the Aegean Bronze Age.

Cite This Work

APA Style

Macquire, K. (2021, October 12). Elizabethan Theatre, Queen Elizabeth I and William Shakespeare. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://www.worldhistory.org/video/2667/elizabethan-theatre-queen-elizabeth-i-and-william/

Chicago Style

Macquire, Kelly. "Elizabethan Theatre, Queen Elizabeth I and William Shakespeare." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified October 12, 2021. https://www.worldhistory.org/video/2667/elizabethan-theatre-queen-elizabeth-i-and-william/.

MLA Style

Macquire, Kelly. "Elizabethan Theatre, Queen Elizabeth I and William Shakespeare." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 12 Oct 2021. Web. 23 Jun 2024.