Elizabeth Ist coat of arms

Paul's Playhouse

Picture of Blackfrairs Playhouse

Picture of Blackfrairs Playhouse

The Paul's Playhouse Theatre
During the Elizabethan era the young boy members of the choirs were also encouraged to participate in drama. These troupes were called Children's companies. In 1575, Sebastian Westcott was running a well-established Children's company in a small private theatre within the precinct of St. Paul's.

Paul's Playhouse was well attended and financially successful as it was backed by wealthy and powerful patronage.Paul's specialised in presenting entertainments for royal and noble households. Queen Elizabeth I loved the entertainments provided by the young boys of these chorister groups which added to the extraordinary popularity of the child acting companies of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Paul's  were renowned for their sumptuous costumes, their props and the quality of the entertainments provided for them by a long succession of writers. The young acting troupe was referred to as "Paul's Pigeons". Paul's Playhouse was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666 but its site is marked by a plaque. In 1608 the Children's Companies were suppressed.

The Paul's Playhouse Indoor Elizabethan Playhouse Theatre
The known facts about the Paul's Playhouse indoor Playhouse, which was used as one of the venues for English Elizabethan Theatre, are as follows:

  • London Location of the Paul's Playhouse indoor Playhouse - Precinct of St Paul's Cathedral
  • The Paul's Playhouse indoor Playhouse was opened in 1575
  • The famous people associated with the Paul's Playhouse indoor Playhouse were Sebastian Westcott and Queen Elizabeth I
  • The Children's company, called  "Paul's Pigeons", of Paul's Playhouse was suppressed in 1608

Interesting Facts and Information about Elizabethan Playhouses
The following interesting facts about the Elizabethan indoor playhouses, such as Paul's Playhouse, provide an insight into the development of the modern theatre:

  • Elizabethan playhouses, such as Paul's Playhouse, provided indoor venues for the production of Elizabethan plays
  • The venues were smaller and roofed
  • Suitable for winter and evening productions
  • Admittance to the Playhouses were more expensive than the other types of Elizabethan theatres
  • Attending a public theater performance would cost between 1 to 3 pennies, but admission to a private, indoor, theatre cost between 2 to 26 pennies
  • Indoor Playhouses were no so much private but exclusive - the cost prohibited the attendance of most common folk
  • Everyone in the private theatre audience was given a seat - the higher the price of admission, the more comfortable the seat was
  • The Audience capacity was up to 500 people
  • The Playhouses were more comfortable and luxurious than other theatres
  • 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, or sold, during the intervals
  • Music and songs was strongly featured - the acoustics of indoor theatres, such as Paul's Playhouse Playhouse, lent themselves 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

Paul's Playhouse - An Indoor Elizabethan Playhouse
The information and facts regarding the development of indoor Elizabethan playhouses, such as Paul's Playhouse, provide an interesting insight into the development of the modern theatre.

Elizabethan Theatre
Elizabethan Era Index

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