The suppers were renown for being boisterous affairs and plays were introduced to accompany the meals. The famous courtiers and statesmen of Shakespeare's era were members of Gray's Inn. It became a fashionable place for wealthy noblemen to send their sons. The Elizabethan courtiers and Statesmen included Lord Burleigh, Lord Howard of Effingham, Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Francis Walshingham, Francis Bacon and Henry Wriothesley. Queen Elizabeth herself was the Grays Inn's Patron Lady.
Shakespeare and Gray's Inn
Henry Wriothesley was the patron of William Shakespeare and his patronage bore a strong influence on the success of Shakespeare. In 1594 William Shakespeare's play the Comedy of Errors was produced in Gray's Inn Great Hall.The chronicles of Grays Inn comment that: 'A company of base and common fellows.. ' gave their performance on December 28 as part of the Christmas revels. The playwright William Shakespearewas very probably one of the cast.
The Gray's Inn Playhouse
The known facts about the Gray's Inn Playhouse indoor Playhouse, which was used as one of the venues for English Elizabethan Theatre, are as follows:
- London Location of the Gray's Inn Playhouse indoor Playhouse - High Holborn
- The famous people associated with the Gray's Inn Playhouse indoor Playhouse were Lord Burleigh, Lord Howard of Effingham, Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Francis Walshingham, Francis Bacon, Henry Wriothesley, William Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth I
Interesting Facts and Information about Elizabethan Playhouses
The following interesting facts about the Elizabethan indoor playhouses, such as Gray's Inn Playhouse, provide an insight into the development of the modern theatre:
- Gray's Inn, provided indoor venues for the production of Elizabethan plays
- London Location of Gray's Inn - City of London
- Suitable for winter and evening productions
- Indoor Playhouses were no so much private but exclusive
- The Audience capacity was up to 500 people
- The Great Halls in existing, prestigious, buildings were used as playhouses and venues for plays
- The indoor Playhouses were lighted by candles so performances could be staged in the evening
- The use of candles led to the introduction of intervals when burnt down candles were replaced
- Food and drink was served during the intervals
- Music and songs was strongly featured - the acoustics of Gray's Inn, lent itself to this effect
- Beautiful scenery were introduced - as this was not open to the open air elements this could be re-used over and over again
- Costumes tended to be quite sumptuous
- The plays were selected to suit the indoor venues - the emphasis was on the words of the play rather than noisy special effects
Gray's Inn Playhouse - An Indoor Elizabethan Playhouse
The information and facts regarding the development of indoor Elizabethan playhouses, such as Gray's Inn Playhouse, provide an interesting insight into the development of the modern theatre.