1902 Encyclopedia > Theatre


THEATRE (theatron [Gk.], "a place for seeing," from theomai [Gk.]) The invention of the building especially devised for dramatic representations was due to the Athenians (see DRAMA). At first representations at the Dionysiac festivals were held on the temporary wooden platforms; an accident, however which occurred in 500 B.C. induced the Athenians to begin the construction of a permanent building. The first theater was not completed till 340 B.C., and during the interval a large number of theatres, designed on the same model, had been erected in many towns of Greece and Asia Minor, though in some cases, as at Sparta, they were used for assemblies of the people and dances rather than for dramatic performances. The great Dionysiac theatre at Athens was placed in the Lenaeum, an enclosure sacred to Dionysus, and its auditorium is scooped out of the rock at the base of the Acropolis on its south-east side. A similar position on the slope of a hill was always chosen by the Greeks, and it was not till the 1st century B.C. that theatres were built by the Romans on a level site.

== FIGURE 1 ==

Fig. 1 shows the plan of the existing theatre at Myra, in the south-east of Lycia, which, though late in date, is built after the old Greek model. [Footnote 222-1] The seats for the audience are arranged in concentric tiers, rising like steps one above the other (see fig. 2); these mainly rest on the cavity excavated in the hillside, and the whole space occupied by the spectators was called the koilon [Gk.] (Lat. cavae). About half way up the slope is an encircling passage (diazoma [Gk.], praecinctio). Flights of steps divide the seats into wedge shaped blocks (kekides [Gk.], cunei). At the highest level behind the top row of seats ran a colonnade, forming a covered passage with a gallery at the top. Rows of niches were formed in the black wall of this, and also sometimes in the low wall encircling the diazoma ; in these niches a series of large bronze jars (echeia) were set: they were intended to catch and repeat the reverberation of the voices from the stage. Vitruvius (iii. 5) gives elaborate directions for the construction of these verses, which were to be tuned in a chromatic scale; [Footnote 223-1] he mentions their use by the Greeks, but says he knows of the Roman theatre which possessed these vases, the real utility of which is very problematical. [Footnote 223-2] The segmental floor space in a Greek theatre was called the orchestra [Gk.] (orchestra), and was occupied by the chorus; in the center of this was the thumele [Gk.], a platform slightly raised on steps, in the middle of which was an altar to Dionysius. The stage (proskenion [Gk.], proscenium) was a narrow platform, raised 3 to 5 feet above the orchestra, with which it communicated by stairs, so that the chorus could move from one place to the other; the central part of the stage where the principal actors usually stood, was the logeion [Gk.] (pulpitum). The stage was also connected with a chamber under it (huposkenion [Gk.]) by a flight of stairs called charonioi klimakes [Gk.] , by which ghosts ascended. At the back of the stage was a lofty wall, which usually reached to the level of the colonnade behind the highest row of seats; this was the skene [Gk.], (scena), in which were three doors leading into the stage from the actors’ dressing-rooms behind it. [Footnote 223-3] This wall was usually decorated with three orders of columns and entablatures, forming an architectural façade, which represented a palace or temple, before which the action of the play was supposed to take place. Other movable wooden scenery was in some cases added in front of the permanent scena; or curtains with woven or embroidered figures were hung against it to form a background to the actors (parapetasma [Gk.] or aulaiai, aulaea, or siparium). More elaborate painted scenes were also used, but, according to Aristotle (Poet., iv. 16), not before the time of Sophocles. Various kinds of machinery were used, such as the mechane [Gk.], to suspend in the air an actor who was playing the part of a god descending from heaven; [Footnote 223-4] and the bronteion [Gk.], an apparatus to imitate thunder by stones rolled in metal jars, probably in the ghost chamber under the stage. Women were not excluded from the Greek tragic drama, but appeared to have sat by themselves in the upper rows of seats (Athenaeus, xii. 536) [Footnote 223-5]. At least in the late times the chief priestesses of Athens occupied marble thrones in the proedria [Gk.] or front row.

The remain of the Dionysiac theatre at Athens, the prototype of all later theatres, were excavated in 1862, when the proscenium, orchestra, and the lower rows of seats were found in a fair state of preservation. It must have held 30,000 people: the cavea reaches from the foot of the Acropolis hill to close under the upper circuit wall. The rock-cut cavern, which was faced with the choragic monument to Thrasyllus (320 B.C.), seems to have opened behind the highest rows of seats; the face of the rock is here scarped to a curve concentric with the lines of the seats. The most interesting discovery was that of the row of 67 marble thrones in the front row, each inscribed with the name of one of the chief Athenian priests or with that of a secular official. [Footnote 223-6] The cavea was divided into 13 cunei ; a low wall separated the auditorium from the orchestra. The front or "riser" of the stage is decorated with fine reliefs of deities on large marble slabs. These existing features are mostly restorations of the time of Hadrian, but the reliefs themselves are of much earlier date. The floor of the orchestra is very late, formed of roughly laid slabs of stone, with a central lozenge in marble, which may mark the limits of the thymele, and is apparently part of an earlier pavement.

The position of the Dionysiac theatre, with many of the chief temples of Athens in sight, and with its glorious view of Mount Hymettus, the blue waters of the Aegean Sea, and the islands of the Salamis and Aegina, should not be forgotten in reading the dramas of the great tragedians, with their impassioned appeals to the glories of nature and their allusions to the protective presence of the divine patrons of Attica.

Outside Athens the largest Greek Theatres were those at the Megalopolis (Paus., viii. 32), Cnidus, Syracuse, Argos, and Epidaurus. By the end of the 4th century B.C. every important Hellenic city possessed its theatre, and new ones were built or old ones restored throughout the whole period of Roman domination. The most perfect existing example is that at Aspendus in Pamphylia, [Footnote 223-7] a building of the 2d century of our era, in which the early Greek model has been closely followed. Aspendus is the only place where the whole scena with its three orders of columns is still standing, and every row of seats exists in almost perfect condition. In this theatre the whole interior appears to have been covered by an awning, [Footnote 223-8] supported along the top of the scena by wooden poles set in rows of perforated corbels like those on the Colosseum in Rome. The earlier Greek theatres were probably unsheltered from the sun. Next to Aspendus, the theatre Tauromeniun, in Sicily (see TAORMINA), is the best preserved, at least as far as regards the scena and the upper gallery round the cavea. That at Myra, in Lycia (fig. 1), is also in good preservation.

The Roman Theatre.— In the main the theatres of the Romans were copied closely from those of the Greeks, but in the Greek theatre the orchestra occupied more than a semicircle, while the Romans made it exactly half a circle. The accompanying diagrams (see fig. 3) show the principle on which the plan of each was set out. [Footnote 223-9] The Romans also introduced another important change, in many cases constructing theatres on a level site, not scooped out of a hillside as in the case of Hellenic theatres. This necessitated the elaborate arrangements of substructures, with raking vaults to carry the seats of the cavea, and also an additional visible façade with tiers of arches following the semicircle of the auditorium. The design universally adopted for this appears to have been tiers, usually three in number, of open arches, with intermediate engaged columns, each tier being of a different order, as is still to be seen in the remains of the theatre of Marcellus n in Rome. [Footnote 224-1] The development of the use of the stone arch, and still more the use of concrete for forming vaults, enabled the Romans to erect their theatres on any site. Those in Rome were placed in the level plain of the Campus Martius.

During the Republican period the erection of permanent theatres with seats for the spectators was thought to savour of Greek luxury and to be unworthy of the stern simplicity of the Roman citizens. Thus in 154 B.C. Scipio Nasica induced the senate to demolish the first stone theatre which had been begun by C. Cassius Longinus ("tanquam inutile et nociturum publicis moribus," Liv., Epit., 48). Even in 55 B.C., when Pompey began the theatre of which remains still exist in Rome, he thought it wise to place a shrine to Venus Victrix at the top of the cavea, as a sort of excuse for having stone seats below it—the seats theoretically serving as steps to reach the temple. This theatre, which was completed in 52 B.C., is spoken of by Vitruvius as "the stone theatre" par excellence: it is said in the Regionary catalogues to have held 40,000 people. It was also used as an amphitheatre for the bloody shows in which the Romans took greater pleasure than in the purer intellectual enjoyment of the drama. At its inauguration 500 lions and 20 elephants were killed by gladiators. Near it two other theatres were erected, one begun by Julius Caesar and finished by Augustus in 13 B. C. under the name of his nephew Marcellus, [Footnote 224-2] and another built about the same date by Cornelius Balbus (Suet., Aug., 29; Pliny, H. N., xxxvi. 16). Scanty remains exist of this last theatre, but the rums of the theatre of Marcellus are among the most imposing of the buildings of ancient Rome.

A long account is given by Pliny (H. N., xxxvi. 2 and 24) of a most magnificent temporary theatre built by the aedile M. Aemilius Scaurus in 58 B.C. It is said to have held the incredible number of 80,000 people, and was a work of the most costly splendour. Still less credible is the account which Pliny gives (H. N., xxxvi. 24) of two wooden theatres built by C. Curio in 50 B.C., which were made to revolve on pivots, so that the two together could form an amphitheatre in the afternoon, after having been used as two separate theatres in the morning.

In some cases the Romans built two theatres close together, one for the Greek and the other for the Latin drama, as is the case at Hadrian’s magnificent villa near Tivoli. The two theatres at Pompeii are still well preserved, and all Roman provincial towns of any importance seem to have possessed at least one theatre, designed with the semicircular orchestra after the Roman fashion (see fig. 3). The theatres built under the Roman rule in Hellenic cities seem, on the other hand, to have been usually constructed on the old Greek model, probably because they were designed by Greek architects. This is the case at Tauromenium, Aspendus, and Myra see (fig. 1). An important exception to this rule is the still well-preserved theatre of Herodes Atticus, at the south-west angle of the Athenian Acropolis, which has a semicircular orchestra. It was built in the reign of Hadrian by Herodes Atticus, [Footnote 224-3] a very wealthy Greek, who spent enormous sums in beautifying the city of Athens; he called it the Regillum, after his wife Regilla. Its cavea, which is excavated in the rock, held about 6000 people; it was connected with the great Dionysiac theatre by a long and lofty porticus or stoa, of which considerable 'remains still exist, probably a late restoration of the stoa built by Eumenes II. of Pergamum. In the Roman theatre the "orchestra" was occupied, not by the chorus, but by senators and other persons of rank (Vitr., iii. 6). [Footnote 224-4] The Romans used scenery and stage effects of more elaboration than was the custom in Greece. Vitruvius (iii. 7) mentions three sorts of movable scenery:—(1) for the tragic drama, façades with columns representing public buildings; (2) for comic plays, private houses with practicable windows and balconies; [Footnote 224-5] and (3) for the satyric drama, rustic scenes, with mountains, caverns, and trees.

The Modern Theatre.— During the Middle Ages miracle plays with sacred scenes were the favourite kind of drama; no special buildings were erected for these, as they were represented either in churches or in temporary booths In the 16th century the revival of the secular drama, which, in the reign of Elizabeth, formed so important a part of the literature of England, was carried on in tents, wooden sheds, or courtyards of inns, mostly by strolling actors of a very low class. It was not till towards the close of the century that a permanent building was constructed and licensed for dramatic representations, under the management of Shakespeare and Burbage. [Footnote 224-6] In the 16th and 17th centuries a favourite kind of theatrical representation was in the form of "masques," with processions of grotesquely attired actors and temporary scenic effects of great splendour and mechanical ingenuity. In the reigns of James I. and Charles I. Ben Jonson and the architect Inigo Jones worked together in the production of these "masques," Jonson writing the words and Inigo Jones devising the scenic effects, the latter being very costly and complicated, with gorgeous buildings, landscapes, and clouds or mountains, which opened to display mimic deities, thrown into relief by coloured lights. These masques were a form of opera, in which Ben Jonson’s words were set to music. Ben Jonson received no more for his libretto than Inigo Jones did for his scenic devices, and was not unnaturally annoyed at the secondary place which he was made to occupy: he therefore revenged himself by writing severe satires on Inigo Jones and the system which placed the literary and mechanical parts of the opera on the same footing. In an autograph MS. which still exists this satirical line occurs—"Painting and carpentry are the soul of masque" (see Cunningham, Life of Inigo Jones, London, 1848).

In Italy, during the 16th century, the drama occupied a more important position, and several theatres were erected, professedly on the model of the classic theatre of Vitruvius. One of these, the Teatro Olimpico at Vicenza, still exists ; it was designed by Palladio, but was not completed till 1584, four years after his death. It has an architectural scena, with various orders of columns, rows of statues in niches, and the three doors of the classic theatre, but the whole is painted with strong perspective effects which are very unclassical in spirit. Scamozzi, Palladio’s pupil, who completed the Teatro Olimpico, built another pseudo-classical theatre in 1588 at Sabbionetta for the duke Vespasiano Gonzaga, but this does not now exist.

In France the miracle play developed into the secular drama rather earlier than in England. In the reign of Louis XI., about 1467, the "Brothers of the Passion" had a theatre which was partly religious and partly satirical. In the 16th century Catherine de' Medici is said to have spent incredible sums on the dresses and scenery for the representation of the Italian ballet; and in the middle of the 17th century the regular opera was introduced at Paris.

At the end of the 18th century the theatres of San Carlo at Naples, La Scala at Milan, and La Fenice at Venice were the finest in Europe ; all these have been rebuilt in the present century, but have been eclipsed by the theatres of Paris, St Petersburg, and other capitals, both in size and architectural splendour.

In the modern theatre the auditorium has changed comparatively little, except that the stalls have gradually encroached upon and almost absorbed the pit. The arrangement of the boxes, stalls, balcony, and gallery are too well known to need description. Few people, have, however, any notion of the immense size and extreme complication of the space and machinery behind the proscenium, of which the visible stage occupies but a very small proportion. The stage-floor slopes upwards away from the audience, so that it may appear deeper than it really is by diminishing the foreshortening. [Footnote 225-1] Its extent behind the most distant plane of scenery is usually quite as great as that which the audience sees. In addition to this extension of the visible stage there are three other enormous spaces filled with the machinery to work the scenery.

(1) Of these the first consists of the "wings" (Fr. coulisses), a series of chambers or platforms on each side of the stage, arranged many stories high, and reaching to more than double the height of the proscenium.

(2) The "dock" or under-space (Fr. Dessous), extending under the whole area of the stage floor, and about equal in height to the proscenium, is divided into three or four stories by successive floors, and contains long rows of immense windlasses (Fr. gril) for raising and lowering scenery, and also an elaborate arrangement of lifts by which actors can suddenly appear or vanish through the stage floor. A very ingenious device called the "star trap," invented by an English mechanician (Fr. trappe Anglaise), allows an actor to vanish through the floor without any opening in it being visible. This is done by making the trap door of thin boards (something like a venetian blind) fixed on to flexible bands of steel; the weight of the actor makes these open in the middle and let him through, while the steel springs close the opening as soon as they are released. The whole movement is so rapid that the actor seems to sink through the solid floor. [Footnote 225-2] In all mechanical appliances for theatrical purposes England is far ahead of other countries, many of which have adopted English methods.

(3) The third space, and the largest of all, is that above the proscenium—the "flies" (Fr. dessus or cintre), extending over the whole of the stage, and reaching sometimes to nearly double the height of the proscenium. This also is divided into many floors, and contains rows of great windlasses, by which scenery can be hoisted up out of sight, without folding or bending it. All these three parts of the building are filled with a complicated but most orderly series of ropes, lifts, and machinery of every sort, of which it is impossible here to give a detailed description.

The old method of fixing scenery was to slide it in two halves from the wings in grooves formed in the stage floor : these are no longer used, as much more realistic effects can be gained by supporting scenery from the top, or by building it up with supports of its own, so that, instead of a series of painted planes set parallel to the stage front, castles, cathedrals, or even whole streets are actually built upon the stage, and give striking effects of real perspective.

A rapidly growing tendency now exists to increase the mechanical perfection of the theatre. The extended use of iron instead of wood for the stage floor and the various machines has been a great gain in space and rapidity of working. It is now considered a great object to drop the curtain as seldom as possible, and even the Grand Opera House of Paris is now left far behind in the modern competition for mechanical perfection, [Footnote 225-3] though from an architectural point of view it is the most magnificent and costly of all existing buildings of its kind. See fig. 4.

The latest improvement to prevent delay between the scenes has been introduced in

In Madison Square theatre in New York city, which has two stages, one above the other. During the performance of a scene the second stage floor is being prepared in the under-space, with all its scenery fixed, and when the curtain falls the first stage rises into the upper regions and the second floor goes up to take its place. These floors are accurately balanced by heavy counterpoise weights, so that the whole of these enormous masses are moved with comparatively little force.

On the whole, for magnificence of effect and mechanical ingenuity the great London pantomimes are unrivalled. Their transformation-scenes are marvels of the mechanist’s skill, and are often devised with very high artistic talent. Unhappily much danger and suffering have often to be undergone by the women who act the part of fairies and the like, suspended high in the air by almost invisible supports, and by the young children who have to squeeze themselves into pasteboard shells representing insects or reptiles.

In addition to the above-mentioned parts of the theatre, which are reserved for the mechanical working of the performance, much space is occupied by the "green-room" for the actors, and rows of dressing-rooms. An immense deal of storage room is also required, and some of the Parisian theatres have large magazines for this purpose in the suburbs. In many cases also the atelier for the scene painters is far removed from the theatre, and thus far better space and lighting for the work can be provided. Fig. 5 shows the plan of the Drury Lane theatre, in many respects the best arranged in London.

The painting of theatrical scenery has frequently been the work of artists of very high talent, such as Raphael in Rome, Watteau, Boucher, and Servandoni in France, and Stanfield in England. Paintings of very high artistic merit and wonderfully decorative effect are now produced for theatrical purposes, especially in France, Germany, and England. [Footnote 226-1] In England especially great historical and antiquarian knowledge are brought to the aid of this branch of art. The landscapes in particular are sometimes works of great beauty, and very beautiful effects of lake scenery with trees and mountains reflected in the water are got by setting great sheets of plate glass over the stage floor, slightly inclined, so that a real reflexion is thrown by the landscape painted on the scene behind. Another ingenious device, used by Wagner at Baireuth and also in England for magical scenes, was to form a thin and semi-transparent curtain of vapour, which was sent up by a perforated steam-pipe concealed in a groove in the stage.

The various methods of lighting used are an important item in the production of striking effects. The old system of a row of "foot-lights," with their unpleasant upward shadow, is now almost obsolete. Dip candles were used till 1720, when moulded candles were introduced into French theatres. The next improvement was the lamp of M. Argand, with its circular wick. In 1822 gas was first used in a Parisian theatre, next came the oxyhydrogen lime light, used for special effects, and now electric lighting is rapidly superseding all other kinds.

The old way of producing lightning was to blow lycopodium or powdered resin with bellows through a flame, and this is still used in realistic effects of conflagrations. More effective lightning is now made by flashing the electric light behind a scene painted with clouds, in which a zigzag aperture has been cut out and filled with a transparent substance. Thunder is made by shaking large sheets of iron, by rolling cannon balls above the ceiling of the auditorium, and by clapping together a series of planks strung together on two ropes. Wind is imitated by a machine with a cogged cylinder, which revolves against coarse cloth tightly stretched. The sound of rain is produced by shaking parched peas in a metal cylinder.

The orchestra is now usually arranged either below or above the proscenium, so that the musicians are not visible. The prompter is placed at one side, in the wings, so as to avoid the disfigurement of the hood-like box which formerly used to cut the front line of the stage into two halves. This is, however, less convenient for the actors.

Till the middle of the present century little trouble or expense was laid out on dresses and accessories. Certain conventional costumes, made of cheap stuff, were used for each part, with but little regard to historical correctness. Armour and weapons were made of pasteboard covered with metal foil, and stage jewellery was made of small cup-like pieces of tin formed with many facets. Now, however, no trouble or expense is spared to get the costumes and various properties archaeologically correct: real jewels and the richest stuffs are often used for the dresses, as well as real furniture of the most costly sort for the furnishing of the scenic rooms. As much as £20,000 is sometimes spent before the play can be presented. All this splendour and realism is very hostile to the true interests of the drama; magnificent scenery and costly accessories are expected by the audience, rather than good acting. In some scenes, such as the ball in the first act of Romeo and Juliet, as recently represented at the Lyceum, the words and acting of the chief performers were almost lost in the general bustle and splendour of the scene. Frequently, too, the noise of setting up some elaborate scene behind almost drowns the voices of the actors in front of the drop scene.

Another serious cause of the present low state of acting in England is the fact that a popular play sometimes runs for several hundred nights without a break, thus reducing the performers to the condition of machines. The modern system of expending large sums on dresses and decoration naturally prevents that frequent change of subject which is so desirable, and which in France is provided for by the rules of the Théatre Français, where acting of a very high order of merit still survives.

The present system, aided by the enormous size to which London has unhappily grown, has completely changed the character of the audience. Instead of an audience largely composed of habitués, who by their constant attendance at the theatre had gained some knowledge of what acting ought to be, and were prepared to show their disgust at clap-trap or ranting, we have now practically a fresh and ignorant audience every night, who, by their applause of what is worst and their coldness to real refinement of acting, do much to lower the dramatic standard and demoralize the actors.

For further information the reader is referred to Donnet, Théatres de Paris, 1821 ; Salomons, Construction des Théatres, Paris, 1871 ; Garnier, Le Nouvel Opéra de Paris, 1876-81 ; Coutant, Principaux Th’eatres Modernes, Paris, 1870; Moynet, L’Envers du Théâtre, Paris, 1874; Pougin, Dictionnaire du Théâtre, Paris, 1885.

(J. H. M.)


The regulation of the theatre by legislation can be traced back to the time of the lower empire, in which it depended almost wholly upon constitutions of Theodosius and Valentinian, incorporated in the Theodosian Code (tit. xv. 5, 6, 7), and a century later to a large extent adopted by Justinian. In the whole of this law there is an evident attempt at a compromise between the doctrines of Christianity and the old Roman love of public spectacles of all kinds. It deals less with theatrical representations proper than with gladiatorial contests and chariot races. [Footnote 226-2] The Theodosian Code provided that the sacraments were not to be administered to actors save where death was imminent, and only on condition that the calling should be renounced in case of recovery. Daughters of actors were not to be forced to go on the stage, provided that they lived an honest life. An actress was to be allowed to quit the stage in order to become a nun. There were also numerous sumptuary regulations as to the dress of actors. None of the law which has been mentioned so far was adopted by Justinian, but what follows was incorporated in Cod. xi. 40 ("De Spectaculis et Scenicis"), which consists entirely of extracts from the Theodosian Code of a very miscellaneous nature. Provision was made for the exhibition of public games and theatrical spectacles by magistrates, practically confining them to exhibiting in their own cities. Statues of actors were not to be placed in the public streets, but only in the proscenium of a theatre. A governor of a province was entitled to take the money raised for public games for the purpose of repairing the city walls, provided that he gave security for afterwards celebrating the games as usual. In Cod. iii. 12, 11 ("De Feriis") is a constitution of Leo and Anthemius forbidding dramatic representations on Sunday. The Digest (iii. 2) classed all who acted for hire ("omnes propter pecuniam in scenain prodeuntes") as infamous persons, and as such debarred them from filling public offices. A mere contract to perform, not fulfilled, did not, however, carry infamy with it. By the 51st of the Novellae actresses could retire from the stage without incurring a penalty, even if they had given sureties or taken an oath.

In England, as in other countries of western Europe, theatrical legislation was of comparatively recent introduction. Such legislation was unnecessary as long as the theatre was under the control of the church and actors under its protection (see DRAMA). The earliest regulations were therefore, as might be expected, made by the church rather than by the state. The ecclesiastical ordinances were directed chiefly against the desecration of churches, though they sometimes extended to forbidding attendance of the faithful as spectators at plays of a harmless kind. [Footnote 226-3] Sacraments and Christian burial were denied by the canon law to actors, whose gains, said St Thomas, were acquired ex turpi causa.[Footnote 227-1] The same law forbade plays to be acted by the clergy, even under the plea of custom, as in Christmas week, and followed the Code of Justinian in enjoining the clergy not to consort with actors or be present at plays (see the Decretals of Gregory, iii. 1, 12, and 15, "De Vita et Honestate Clericorum"). As lately as 1603 canon lxxxviii. of the canons of the Church of England enacted that churchwardens were not to suffer plays in churches, chapels, or churchyards.

The Reformation marks the period of transition from the ecclesiastical to the non-ecclesiastical authority over the drama. Precautions began to be taken by the crown and the legislature against the acting of unauthorized plays, by unauthorized persons, and in unauthorized places, and the acting of plays objectionable to the Government on political or other grounds. The protection of the church being withdrawn, persons not enrolled in a fixed company or in possession of a licence from the crown or justices were liable to severe penalties as vagrants. The history of the legislation on this subject is very curious. An Act of the year 1572 (14 Eliz. c. 5) enacted that "all fencers, bearwards, common players of interludes, and minstrels (not belonging to any baron of this realm, or to any other honourable person of greater degree)," wandering abroad without the licence of two justices at the least, were subject "to be grievously whipped and burned through the gristle of the right ear with a hot iron of the compass of an inch about." This statute was superseded by 39 Eliz. c. 4, under which the punishment of the strolling player is less severe, and there is no mention of justices. The jurisdiction of justices over the theatre disappears from legislation from that time until 1788. In 39 Eliz. c. 4 there is a remarkable exception in favour of persons licensed by Button of Button in Cheshire, in accordance with his claim to liberty and jurisdiction in Cheshire and Chester, established in favour of his ancestor by proceedings in quo warranto in 1499. The stricter wording of this Act as to the licence seems to show that the licence had been abused, perhaps that in some cases privileges had been assumed without authority. In 14 Eliz. c. 5 the privileges of a player attached by service of a noble or licence from justices, in the later Act only by service of a noble, and this was to be attested under his hand and arms. The spirit of the Acts of Elizabeth frequently appears in later legislation, and the unauthorized player was a vagabond as lately as the Vagrant Act of 1744, which was law till 1824. He is not named in the Vagrant Act of 1824. The Theatre Act of 1737 narrowed the definition of a player of interludes, for the purposes of punishment as a vagabond, to mean a person acting interludes, &c., in a place where he had no legal settlement.

Before the Restoration there were privileged places as well as privileged persons, e.g., the court, the universities, and the inns of court. With the Restoration privilege became practically confined to the theatres in the possession of those companies (or their representatives) established by the letters patent of Charles II. in 1662 (see DRAMA). In spite of the patents other and unprivileged theatres gradually arose. In 1735 Sir John Barnard introduced a bill "to restrain the number of playhouses for playing of interludes, and for the better regulation of common players." On Walpole’s wishing to add a clause giving parliamentary sanction to the jurisdiction of the lord chamberlain, the mover withdrew the bill. In 1737 Walpole introduced a bill of his own for the same purpose, there being then six theatres in London. The immediate cause of the bill is said to have been the production of a political extravaganza of Fielding’s, The Golden Rump. The bill passed, and the Act of 10 Geo. II. c. 28 regulated the theatre for more than a century. Its effect was to make it impossible to establish any theatre except in the city of Westminster, and in places where the king should in person reside, and during such residence only. The Act did not confine the prerogative within the city of Westminster, but as a matter of policy it was not exercised in favour of the non-privileged theatres, except those where the "legitimate drama" was not performed. The legitimate drama was thus confined to Covent Garden, Drury Lane, and the Haymarket from 1737 to 1843. In the provinces patent theatres were established at Bath by 8 Geo. III. c. 10, at Liverpool by 11 Geo. III. c. 16, and at Bristol by 18 Geo. III. c. 8, the Act of 1737 being in each case repealed pro tanto. The acting of plays at the universities was forbidden by 10 Geo. II. c. 19. It is not a little remarkable that the universities, once possessing unusual dramatic privileges, should not only have lost those privileges, but have in addition become subject to special disabilities. The restrictions upon the drama were found very inconvenient in the large towns, especially in those which did not possess patent theatres. In one direction the difficulty was met by the lord chamberlain granting annual licences for performances of operas, pantomimes, and other spectacles not regarded as legitimate drama. In another direction relief was given by the Act of 1788 (28 Geo. III- c. 30), under which licences for occasional performances might be granted in general or quarter sessions for a period of not more than sixty days. The rights of patent theatres were preserved by the prohibition to grant such a licence to any theatre within 8 miles of a patent theatre. During this period (1737-1843) there were several decisions of the courts which confirmed the operation of the Act of 1737 as creating a monopoly. The exclusive rights of the patent theatres were also recognized in the Music Hall Act of 1752, and in private Acts dealing with Covent Garden and Drury Lane, and regulating the rights of parties, the application of charitable funds, &c. (see 16 Geo. III. cc. 13, 31; 50 Geo. III. c. ccxiv; 52 Geo. III. c. xix; 1 Geo. IV. c. lx.). The results of theatrical monopoly were beneficial neither to the public nor to the monopolists themselves. In 1832 a select committee of the House of Commons recommended the legal recognition of "stage-right" and the abolition of theatrical monopoly. The recommendations of the report as to stage-right were carried out immediately by Bulwer Lytton’s Act, 3 and 4 Will, IV. c. 15 (see COPYRIGHT). But it was not till 1843 that the present Theatre Act, 6 and 7 Vict. c. 68, was passed, a previous bill on the same lines having been rejected by the House of Lords. The Act of 1843 inaugurated a more liberal policy, and there is now complete "free trade" in theatres, subject to the conditions imposed by the Act. The growth of theatres since that time has been enormous. In 1885 there were forty-six licensed under the Act in London, Liverpool coining next with ten. Nor does the extension seem to have been attended with the social dangers anticipated by some of the witnesses before the committee of 1832.

The suppression of objectionable plays was the ground of many early statutes and proclamations. While the religious drama was dying out, the theatre was used as a vehicle for enforcing religious and political views not always as orthodox as those of a miracle play. Thus the Act of 34 and 35 Hen. VIII. c. 1 made it criminal to play in an interlude contrary to the orthodox faith declared, or to be declared, by that monarch. Profanity in theatres seems to have been a crying evil of the time. The first business of the Government of Edward VI. was to pass an Act reciting that the most holy and blessed sacrament was named in plays by such vile and unseemly words as Christian ears did abhor to hear rehearsed, and inflicting fine and imprisonment upon any person advisedly contemning, despising, or reviling the said most blessed sacrament (1 Edw. VI. c. 1). A proclamation of the same king in 1549 forbade the acting of interludes in English on account of their dealing with sacred subjects. In 1556 the council called attention to certain lewd persons in the livery of Sir F. Leke representing plays and interludes reflecting upon the queen and her consort and the formalities of the mass. The same queen forbade the recurrence of such a representation as the mask given by Sir Thomas Pope in honour of the princess Elizabeth at Hatfield, for she "misliked these follies." By the Act of Uniformity, 1 Eliz. c. 2, it was made an offence punishable by a fine of a hundred marks to speak anything in the derogation, depraving, or despising of the Book of Common Prayer in any interludes or plays. In 1605 "An Act to restrain the Abuses of Players" made it an offence punishable by a fine of £10 to jestingly or profanely speak or use certain sacred names in any stage play, interlude, show, may-game, or pageant (3 Jac. I. c. 21). In consequence of the appearance of players in the characters of the king of Spain and Gondomar, an ordinance of James I. forbade the representation on the stage of any living Christian king. The star chamber in 1614 fined Sir John Yorke for representing a Catholic drama in his house. The first Act of the reign of Charles I. forbade acting on Sunday (see SUNDAY). Puritan opposition to the theatre culminated in the ordinance of the Long Parliament (see vol. vii. p. 434). After the Restoration there are few royal proclamations or ordinances, the necessary jurisdiction being exercised almost entirely by parliament and the lord chamberlain. One of the few post-Restoration royal proclamations is that of February 25, 1665, restraining any but the company of the Duke of York’s theatre from entering at the attiring house of the theatre.

Preventive censorship of the drama by an officer of state dates from the reign of Elizabeth, and is perhaps the only example of censorship of the press still existing in the United Kingdom (see PRESS LAWS). Such a censorship is not unknown in other countries, and it seems to have existed even in republican Rome, if one may judge from Horace’s line,—

"Quae neque in aede sonent certantia judice Tarpa."

The master of the revels appears to have been the dramatic censor from 1545 to 1624, when he was superseded by the lord chamberlain. In some cases the supervision was put into commission. Thus with Tilney, the master of the revels in 1581, were associated by order of the privy council a divine and a statesman. In other cases it was delegated, as to Daniel the poet by warrant in 1603. The proposal to give statutory authority to the jurisdiction of the lord chamberlain led, as has been already stated, to the withdrawal of Sir John Barnard’s bill in 1735, and to considerable debate before the bill of 1737 became law. Lord Chesterfield’s objection to the bill in the House of Lords was not unreasonable. "If the players," said he, "are to be punished, let it be by the laws of their country, and not by the will of an irresponsible despot." The discretion reposed by the Acts of 1737 and 1843 in the lord chamberlain has been, according to the report of a select committee of the House of Commons in 1866, on the whole wisely exercised. On the other hand, there have been instances where perhaps both he and his subordinate officer, the examiner of stage plays, have been somewhat nice in their objections. Thus, during the illness of George III., King Lear was inhibited. George Colman, when examiner, showed an extraordinary antipathy to such words as "heaven" or "angel." The lord chamberlain’s powers are still occasionally exerted in the interests of public decency, less frequently for political reasons. Before 1866 the lord chamberlain appears to have taken into consideration the wants of the neighbourhood before granting a licence, but since that year such a course has been abandoned.

The existing law of theatres is mainly statutory. It will be convenient to treat it as it regards the building, the performance, and the licensing of the building and of the performance. A theatre may be defined with sufficient accuracy for the present purpose as a building in which a stage play is performed for hire. It will be seen from the following sketch of the law that there are a considerable number of different persons, corporate and unincorporate, with jurisdiction over theatres. A consolidation of the law seems urgently required, and the placing of jurisdiction in the hands of a central authority for the United Kingdom. The committee of 1866 recommended the transfer to the lord chamberlain of the regulation of all places of amusement, and an appeal from him to the home secretary in certain cases, as also the extension of his authority to preventive censorship in all public entertainments; but no legislation resulted. Several bills for the amendment of the law have been recently introduced, but hitherto without success in the face of more burning political questions.

Building. —A theatre (at any rate to make it such a building as can be licensed) must be a permanent building, not a mere tent or booth, unless when licensed by justices at a lawful fair by § 23 of the Act of 1843. It must, if in the metropolis, conform to the regulations as to structure contained in the Metropolitan Building Acts and the Metropolis Management Acts, especially the Act of 1878 (41 and 42 Vict. c. 32). This Act makes a certificate of structural fitness from the Board of Works necessary as a condition precedent for licence in the case of all theatres of a superficial area of not less than 500 square feet licensed after the passing of the Act, gives power to the board in certain cases to call upon proprietors of existing theatres to remedy structural defects, and enables it to make regulations for protection from fire. Such regulations were issued by the board on May 2, 1879. As to theatres in provincial towns, the Towns Improvement Act, 1847, and the Public Health Act, 1875, confer certain limited powers over the building on municipal corporations and urban sanitary authorities. In many towns, however, the structural qualifications of buildings used as theatres depend upon local Acts and the by-laws made under the powers of such Acts. To a more limited extent the rules made by justices may enforce certain structural requirements.

Performance.—To constitute a building where a performance takes place a theatre, the performance must be (a) of a stage play, and (b) for hire. (a) By § 23 of the Act of 1843 the word "stage-play" includes tragedy, comedy, farce, opera, burletta, interlude, melodrama, pantomime, or other entertainment of the stage, or any part thereof. The two tests of a stage play appear to be the excitement of emotion and the representation of action. The question whether a performance is a stage play or not seems to be one of degree, and one rather of fact than of law. A ballet d’action would usually be a stage play, but it would be otherwise with a ballet divertissement. § 14 empowers the lord chamberlain to forbid the acting of any stage play in Great Britain whenever he may be of opinion that it is fitting for the preservation of good manners, decorum, or the public peace to do so. § 15 imposes a penalty of £50 on any one acting or presenting a play or part of a play after such inhibition, and avoids the licence of the theatre where it appears. Regulations of police respecting the performance are contained in 2 and 3 Vict. c. 47, and in many local Acts. A performance may also be proceeded against as a nuisance at common law, if, for instance, it be contra bonos mores or draw together a great concourse of vehicles, or if so much noise be heard in the neighbourhood as to interfere with the ordinary occupations of life. Very curious instances of proceedings at common law are recorded. In 1700 the grand jury of Middlesex presented the two playhouses and also the bear-garden on Bankside (the "Paris garden" of Henry VIII., act v. sc. 3) as riotous and disorderly nuisances. In 1819 certain players were prosecuted and convicted before the court of great sessions of Wales for acting indecent open-air interludes at Berriew in Montgomeryshire. Performances on Sunday, Good Friday, and Christmas day are illegal (see SUNDAY). Regulations as to the sale of intoxicating liquors during the performance are made by the Licensing Acts and other public general Acts, as well as by local Acts and rules made by justices. It is frequently a condition of the licence granted to provincial theatres that no excise able liquors shall be sold or consumed on the premises. The Children’s Dangerous Performances Act, 1879 (42 and 43 Vict. c. 34), forbids under a penalty of £10 any public exhibition or performance whereby the life or limbs of a child under the age of fourteen shall be endangered. It also makes the employer of any such child indictable for assault where an accident causing actual bodily harm has happened to the child, and enables the court on conviction of the employer to order him to pay the child compensation not exceeding £20. (b) The performance must be for hire. § 16 of the Act of 1843 makes a building one in which acting for litre takes place, not only where money is taken directly or indirectly, but also where the purchase of any article is a condition of admission, and where a play is performed in a place in which cxciseable liquor is sold. In a recent case of Shellcy v. Bethell (Law Reports, 12 Queen’s Bench Division, 11) it was held that the proprietor of a private theatre was liable to penalties under the Act, though lie lent the theatre gratuitously, because tickets of admission were sold in aid of a charity.

Licensing of Building.—By § 2 of the Act of 1843 all theatres (other than patent theatres) must be licensed. By § 7 no licence is to be granted except to the actual and responsible manager, who is to be bound by himself and two sureties for due observance of rules and for securing payment of any penalties incurred. The metropolitan theatres other than the patent theatres (as far at least as. they are included in the boroughs named in the Act of 1843) are licensed by the lord chamberlain. By § 4 his fee on grant of a license is not to exceed 10s. for each month for which the theatre is licensed. The lord chamberlain appears to have no power to make suitable rules for enforcing order and decency. He can; however, by § 8, suspend a licence or close a patent theatre where any riot or misbehaviour has taken place.

Provincial theatres fall under three different licensing authorities. The lord chamberlain licenses theatres in Windsor and Brighton, and theatres situated in the places where the queen occasionally resides, but only during the time of such occasional residence (§ 3). Theatres at Oxford and Cambridge, or within 14 miles thereof, are licensed by the justices having jurisdiction therein, but before any such licence can come into force the consent of the chancellor or vice-chancellor must be given. The rules made by the justices for the management of the theatre are subject to the approval of the chancellor or vice-chancellor, who may also impose such conditions upon the licence as he thinks fit. In case of any breach of the rules or conditions, he may annul the licence (§ 10). All other provincial theatres are licensed by four or more justices at a special session held within twenty-one days after application for a licence shall have been made to them (§ 5). The fee is not to exceed 5s. for each month for which the theatre is licensed (§ 6). The justices, like the lord chamberlain, appear to have no discretion as to granting a licence. Their act is purely ministerial and confined to ascertaining that the applicant is the actual and responsible manager, and that he and his sureties are of sufficient substance to provide the requisite bonds. § 9 gives the justices authority to make at the special session suitable rules for enforcing order and decency at the theatres licensed by them, and of rescinding or altering such rules at a subsequent special session. It also gives a secretary of state power to rescind or alter such rules, and to make other rules. In case of riot or breach of the rules, the justices may order the theatre to be closed, and it thereupon becomes an unlicensed house. Penalties are imposed by the Act for keeping or acting in an unlicensed theatre, and for producing or acting in an unlicensed play.

Licensing Performance.—A stage play must be duly licensed before performance. § 12 of the Act of 1843 prescribes that a copy of every new play and of every addition to an old play, and of every new prologue or epilogue or addition thereto (such copy to be signed by the master or manager), shall be sent to the lord chamberlain, and, if the lord chamberlain does not forbid it within seven days, it may be represented. § 13 empowers the lord chamberlain to fix a scale of fees for examination; the fee is now two guineas for a play of three or more acts, one guinea for a play of less than three acts. All plays represented previously to the Act are held to be licensed. A play once licensed is licensed once for all, unless the licence be revoked under § 14. The examination is the duty of a special officer of the lord chamberlain’s department, the examiner of stage plays.

Music Halls.— Music was at no time the object of restrictions as severe as those imposed upon the drama. The present Music Hall Act (25 Geo. II. c. 36) was passed in 1752, probably in consequence of the publication in 1750 of Fielding’s Inquiry into the Causes of the late Increase of Robbers. It is remarkable that two works of the same writer should from opposite causes have led to both theatre and music hall legislation of lasting importance. The Act was originally passed for a term of three years, but was made perpetual by 28 Geo. II. c. 19. It applies only to music halls within 20 miles of London and Westminster. Every such music hall must be licensed at the Michaelmas quarter sessions, the licence to be signified under the hands and seals of four or more justices. The licence may be granted for music or dancing or both. Public notice of the licence is to be given by affixing over the door the inscription Licensed pursuant to Act of Parliament of the twenty-fifth of King George the Second. "The penalty for keeping an unlicensed music hall is £100. Music halls beyond the radius of 20 miles from London and Westminster arc usually governed by local legislation, which in most cases follows, mutatis mutandis, the lines of the Act of 1752. The music hall, like the theatre, must generally fulfil certain structural requirements. In one important respect the law is more lenient to the music hall than to the theatre. A licence is necessary for a single performance of a stage play, but it is only habitual music or dancing that requires a music hall licence.

Scotland.—In Scotland the theatre has always exercised a smaller amount of influence than in England, and there has been little exclusively Scotch legislation on the subject. An Act of 1555, c. 40 discountenanced certain amusements of a semi-theatrical kind by enacting that no one was to be chosen Robert Hude (sic), Little John, abbot of Unreason, or queen of May. A proclamation of James VI. in 1574, and an Act of 1579, c. 12, followed the lines of English legislation by making persons using unlawful plays, such as Jugglery or fast and loose, punishable as vagabonds. In 1574 the General Assembly claimed to license plays, and forbade representations on Sunday. As in England, the licensing power seems then to have passed from the church to the crown, for in 1599 James VI. licensed a theatre at Edinburgh. The Act 1.672, c. 21, exempted comedians while upon the stage from the sumptuary provisions of the Act respecting apparel. The chamberlain of Scotland, while such an office existed, appears to have exercised a certain police jurisdiction over theatres. The Theatre Act of 1843 extends to Scotland, as did also the previous Act of 1737.

Ireland.—Theatrical legislation, as far as it went, was based upon English models. Thus ridicule of the liturgy was forbidden by 2 Eliz. c. 2 (Ir.); common players of interludes and wandering minstrels were deemed vagabonds, 10 and 11 Car. I. c. 4 (Ir.). In 1786 an Act was passed to enable the crown to grant letters patent for one or more theatres in Dublin city and county, 26 Geo. III. c. 57 (Ir.). The preamble alleges that the establishing of a well-regulated theatre at the seat of government will be productive of public advantage and tend to improve the morals of the people. Exceptions from the restrictions of the Act were made in favour of entertainments for the benefit of the Dublin lying-in hospital and exhibitions of horsemanship or puppet-shows.

United States.—Public entertainments, dramatic or otherwise, are usually under the control of the municipal authorities. In some States, such as New York and Massachusetts, there is State legislation, requiring places of public entertainment to be licensed by the proper authority. In many States it is a condition of the licence that intoxicating liquors shall not be sold in such places. Other conditions, more or less usual, are that there shall be no Sunday or dangerous performances, that acrobats shall be properly protected, and that female waiters shall not be employed. Structural qualifications are in some cases made necessary. Thus in 1885 the New York legislature passed an Act containing many minute provisions for ensuring the safety of theatres against fire. A characteristic piece of legislation is the New York Act of 1873, c. 186, enacting that no citizen is to be excluded from a theatre by reason of race, colour, or previous condition of servitude. This Act of course merely carries out the important principle affirmed in art. xiv. of the amendments to the constitution of the United States. See PRIVILEGE.

The most recent if not the only work on the law relating to theatres is Geary’s Law of Theatres and Music Halls, 1885. (J. W†.)


222-1 See Texier and Pullan, Asia Minor, London, 1865.

223-1 The well-preserved theatre at Tauromenium, in Sicily, still has these niches, which are contrived in the dwarf wall on which the columns of the upper gallery stood.

223-2 Earthenware vases, which are sometimes found under the floors of mediaeval church stalls, were probably placed there through a mistaken notion that this was carrying out Vitruvius’s recommendation .

223-3 The central door, used by the chief actor, was "the royal door."

223-4 Hence the Roman proverbial phrase, "dues ex machina."

223-5 This is shown by Jacobs, Verm. Schriften, m iv. p. 272, and Passow in Zimmermann’s Zeitschr. f. d. Alterth., 1837, No. 29.

223-6 These thrones are of various dates, ranging from the reign of Augustus or even earlier to that of Hadrian ; see Papers of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, vol. i. p. 123. Similar Greek theatre seats of earlier date still exits in the choirs of some churches in Rome, where they were once used for the episcopal or celebrant’s throne. These were probably brought to Rome during the imperial period for use in the Roman theatres or amphitheatres. The finest example of pure Hellenic work is in S. Pietro in Vincoli ; it is decorated with delicate honeysuckle scroll –work relief.

223-7 See Texier and Pullan, Asia Minor, London, 1865.

223-8 There was also a wooden pent-roof corbelled out over the stage.

223-9 See Vitruvius, iii. 8 (Greek theatre) and iii. 2 to 7 (Roman).

224-1 This design was also adopted for their amphitheatres, such as the colossea of Rome and Capua, the plan of which resembles the cavea of two theatres set together so as to enclose an oval space.

224-2 According to Livy (xl. 51), the theatre of Marcellus was built on the site of an earlier one erected by Aemilius Lepidus.

224-3 This theatre was not begun when Pausanias wrote his book Attica, and was complete when he wrote the Achaica (see Paus., vii. 29). It is illustrated in Mon. Inst., vi., plate 16.

224-4 The pit and stalls in a modern theatre occupy an analogous position.

224-5 These are shown on Graeco-Roman vases of the latest type, with paintings of burlesque parodies of mythological stories.

224-6 The first building specially erected in London for dramatic purposes was built in 1576-77 by the actor James Burbage, who was originally a carpenter by trade. It was constructed of timber, and stood in Holywell Lane, Shoreditch, till 1598, when it was pulled down; it was known as "The Theatre" par excellence. Of almost equally early date was the "Curtain" theatre, also in Shoreditch; many explanations of its name have been given but the real one appears to be that it was so called from the plot of ground, known as "The Curten," on which it stood. It probably continued in use till the general closing of theatres by order of the parliament in 1642.

The "Globe" theatre, famous for its association with Shakespeare, was built by James Burbage, who used the materials of "The Theatre," in the year 1598. Its site was in Southwark, in a district called "The Bankside," near the old "Bear Gardens." It was an octagonal structure of wood, with lath and plaster between the main framework. It was burnt in 1613, rebuilt, and finally pulled down and its site built over in 1644. Its name was derived from its sign of Atlas supporting the globe. Near it were two less important theatres, "The Rose," opened in 1592 by Henslowe, and "The Swan," opened in 1598 and probably owned also by Henslowe; like the Globe, it was an octagonal wood-and-plaster building.

The "Blackfriars" theatre, another of the Burbages’ ventures, was built in 1596 (not 1576, as stated by Collier, Hist. of Dramatic Poetry and Annals of the Stage, new ed., 1879 vol. i. p. 287), near the old Dominican friary. The "Fortune" theatre was built by Edward Alleyn, the great rival of the Burbages, in 1599-1600, at a total cost including the site, of £1320. It stood between Whitecross Street and Golding Lane. It existed as late as 1819, when a drawing of it was given by Wilkinson (Londina illustrata, 1819). The "Red Bull" theatre was probably originally the the galleried court of an inn, which was adapted for dramatic purposes towards the close of Elizabeth’s reign. Other early theatres were the "Hope" or "Paris Garden" theatre, the "Whitefriars" and "Salisbury Court" theatres, and the "Newington" theatre. A curious panoramic view of London, engraved by Visscher in 1616, shows the Globe, the Hope, and the Swan theatres.

The plan of the first English theatres appears to have had no connexion with those of classical times, as was the case in Italy: it was evidently produced in an almost accidental way by the early custom of erecting a temporary platform or stage in the middle of the open courtyard pf an inn, in which the galleries all round the court formed boxes for the chief spectators, while the poorer part of the audience stood in the court on all sides of the central stage. Something similar to this arrangement, unsuitable though it now seems, was reproduced even in building, such as the Globe, the Fortune, and the Swan, which were specially designed for the drama. In these and other early theatres there was a central platform for the stage, surrounded by seats except on one side, where there was a "green-room" or "tireynge-howse." The upper galleries or boxes completely surrounded the stage, even the space over the green-room being occupied by boxes. This being the arrangement, it is easy to see why the octagonal plan was selected in most cases, though not in all,—the Fortune theatre, for example, was square. An interesting specification and contract for the building of the Fortune theatre is printed by Halliwell-Phillipps (op. cit. infra, p. 164). In all its details the Fortune is specified to be like the Globe, except that it is to be square in plan, and with timbers of heavier scantling. The walls are to be of wood and plaster, the roof tiled, with lead gutters, the stage of oak, with a "shadow" or cover over it, and the "tireynge-howse" to have glazed windows. Two sorts of boxes are mentioned, viz., "gentlemen’s roomes" and "twoo-pennie roomes." A woodcut showing this arrangement of the interior is given in a collection of plays edited by Kirkman in 1672.

Much valuable information about the early theatres of London is given by Wilkinson, Londina Illustrata (1819), in which are engravings of some of them. See also Collier, Hist. of Dramatic Poetry, 1879 ; Halliwell-Phillipps, Life of Shakespeare, 1883 ; Malone, History of the Stage, 1790, republished by Boswell in 1821 ; the publications of the New Shakspere Society ; the Ninth Report of the Historical MSS. Commission ; and a series of articles on early London theatres, by T. F. Ordish, in The Antiquary, vols. xi., xii., and xiv., 1885-86.

225-1 This device was practised by the mediaeval architects in most European countries, who frequently made the floor of cathedrals and other large churches to slope upwards from west to east, sometimes as much as from two to three feet.

225-2 Other varieties of this, such as the "vampire trap," allow an actor to vanish through an apparently solid wall.

225-3 In 1883 M. Reyer’s Sigurd was refused at the Paris Opera House mainly on account of the absence of the necessary mechanical appliances.

226-1 Scene painting are usually executed in distemper, frequently in an atelier formed in the roof of the theatre; the artist partly works with his canvas laid upon the floor, or, where space allows, the painting is hung against a wall and the artist works from a scaffold, with tiers of boarding arranged so that he can reach to any part of the great canvas.

226-2 The word ludi seems sometimes to include, sometimes to exclude, dramatic performances. Its meaning in a particular instance depends on the context.

226-3 A large number of such ordinances will be found cited in Prynne, Histriomastix; Bossuet, Maximes et Réflexions sur la Comédie; Mariana, De Spectaculis; Smith, Dictionary of Christian Antiquities, arts. "Actors" and "Theatre."

227-1 For this reason it appears to have been the custom in France for actors to be married under the name of musicians. See Hist Parlémentaire. de la Révolution Française, vol. vi. p. 381. The difficulties attending the funeral of MOLIÈRE (q.v.) are well known.

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