Elizabeth I (1533-1603) was the daughter of Anne Boleyn, wife of Henry VIII. Elizabeth the 1st (1533-1603) was born to King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Her most notable victory is the one she achieved in 1588 against the Spanish Armada. Elizabeth, the beloved Queen of England, was actually third in line after her older and younger siblings. Both of her siblings died young, which forced Elizabeth to rule. In order to demonstrate her rightful place as queen, she would often be very reserved when discussing her mother who had been called “the Great Whore”.
She was a young, popular monarch who used her femininity for her benefit. She was more confident as she aged, and took additional precautions in order to stay the center of attention for her pursuers. Her positive attitude to the arts and humanities was evident when she became president. England’s economy flourished under her reign and allowed the arts to grow. England was an unclean place. Raw sewage stained the city streets. A foul stench filled the air. If a person survived beyond the age of 12, their average life expectancy was just over 60 years.
Elizabethan England was a violent period that gave birth to one of the most notorious eras in Theatre. Shakespeare was the most famous playwright of all time, but also men like Christopher Marlow were a major part of this period. The theatre was a place where new ideas, thoughts and styles were explored. It was the printing press that had the greatest impact on the theatre of this period.
The people were fascinated by the theatre and this is not surprising since many of the Elizabethan Classics are still performed today, including ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. Hierarchical companies were formed. Sharers were actors with a foothold in the company. They would share profits collectively. In the past, ‘hirelings’ were paid weekly and boys actively portraying females would be called ‘apprentices.’ They received a pittance compared with their fellow actors. They would then specialize in roles they were familiar with.
Admiral’s Men Theatre Company and Lord Chamberlain’s Men Theatre Company are two of most well-known theatres. Around 30 to 40 new performances were presented by companies every year. This demand led to playwrights writing more plays every year. These works were rarely published. The playwright would not be credited with the publication of his work once the play was completed.