Elizabeth Ist coat of arms

Salisbury Court Playhouse

Picture of Blackfrairs Playhouse

Picture of Blackfrairs Playhouse

The Salisbury Court Theatre

  • Interesting Facts and information about Salisbury Court Playhouse
  • Salisbury Court Playhouse Theatre was built in 1629 by Richard Gunnell and William Blagrove

  • Famous visitor - Samuel Pepys


The Whitefriars Playhouse theatre was replaced by the Salisbury Court Theatre in 1629. The Salisbury Court Theatre was a private theatre built by Richard Gunnell and William Blagrove at a cost of 1000 and covers part of the site of Salisbury House, the London Town House which was owned by he Bishops of Salisbury. The theater was successful but it fell into decline when the Puritans came into power in England in 1642.The Puritans moved the country to a stricter code of conduct which deplored any kind of finery or flippant behaviours. In 1648 all playhouses were ordered to be pulled down. All players were to be seized and whipped, and anyone caught attending a play to be fined five shillings. Plays were illegally performed during the this era but the Salisbury Court Theater was destroyed by soldiers in 1649. In 1660 King Charles II is restored to the throne of England. With the Restoration of the English monarchy and , and the demise in the power of the Puritans in 1660 the theatres finally open again. After the Restoration Salisbury Court was restored by William Beeston and was one of the first theatres to re-open. Samuel Pepys recorded visiting the Salisbury Court Theatre in 1661.

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

  • Elizabethan playhouses, such as Salisbury Court 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
  • The Audience capacity was up to 500 people
  • Everyone in the private theatre audience was given a seat - the higher the price of admission, the more comfortable the seat was
  • 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 Salisbury Court 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

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

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