We have the detail about the way a London playhouse functioned thanks, in a large part, to one document. Theatre owner Philip Henslowe kept a record of many aspects of his enterprise at the Rose theatre from 1591 to 1609. A large part of the diary comprises of daily records of the takings at the box office, which plays were performed, if they were new or revivals, and various other details about expenses, costumes and matters related to the running of The Rose.
This episode looks at activity at The Rose for two months through the eyes of Henslowe’s Diary
Dr Faustus is one of the most influential plays of the Elizabethan period. Most commentators see this play as Marlowe’s masterpiece, and it is certainly the most performed of his plays through the centuries.
The two printed version of the play and how they may have come to be updated.
The Plot of ‘The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus’.
The source material for the play.
The effect of earning and wisdom.
Comparisons with Tamburlaine
The questioning of Christian doctrine.
The philosophical and religious debates in the play.
The impact of the comedic moments in the play.
How the scenes with the Pope would have been received
Marlowe’s ‘Tamburlaine the Great’ is a play in two parts, an early example of a writer responding to popular acclaim by giving his audience more of the same, but for all of that mercenary motivation, and the fact that the first part was conceived as a stand-alone piece, they do work well as a conjoined piece.
The history of the printed plays and the introduction by the printer Richard Jones.
A summary of the plot of part one of the play.
The relationship of the play to the historical Timor.
Christopher Marlowe was one of the giants of Elizabethan theatre, but he died young in mysterious circumstances. In this episode I try to unpick the mystery of why he died. Was it just an argument about the cost of a meal, or the result of some far more sinister goings-on in the world of Elizabethan espionage and court rivalry?
Elizabeth’s reign is seen as the golden age of theatre where many great playwrights, and one genius in particular, flourished. But did that happen because of the freedoms they were granted, or because of the constraints they worked under?
The situation in theatre as Elizabeth ascended to the throne.
The revision of the Act of Uniformity.
The renewal of the ban on Interludes and censorship play printing.
Rules introduced to combat the spread of plague.
Attempts to ban plays on moral grounds.
The arguments against stage plays performed on Sunday.
Touring companies in the north and continued performances of Corpus Christi plays.
As England emerged from the Medieval period theatre became established in London in purpose built theatres and in buildings adapted for the purpose. In this episode we look at those earliest theatres and their builders:
The Red Lion, a probably short lived theatre built by John Brayne
Four Inns that operated as theatres The Bel Savage, The Bull, The Bell, and the Cross Keys
The Theatre at Newington Butts
The Theatre – probably the first truly purpose built theatre since Roman times. The Story of how James Burbage and John Brayne acquired land, built The Theatre and kept it running […]