Elizabeth Ist coat of arms

White Hart Inn

Picture of The White Hart Inn

Picture of The White Hart Inn

The White Hart Inn - Elizabethan Theatre

The known facts about the White Hart Inn, which was used as one of the venues for early English Elizabethan Theatre, are as follows:

  • London Location of the White Hart Inn - Southwark, folllowing the road from London Bridge

  • Elizabethan plays were performed in the courtyards of the White Hart Inn - 1576 - 1594
  • The White Hart Inn was a popular title for many English Inns
  • The Elizabethan Acting Troupes would negotiate with the owner, or vintner, of the White Hart Inn in order to stage a performance at the White Hart Inn
  • The Cobbled Courtyard of the White Hart Inn was the site of Elizabethan plays - a temporary stage would be erected on trestles
  • People who wanted to watch the plays at the White Hart Inn were charged a small fee as they entered the courtyard - they had to pay extra if they wanted a view from the balcony.

In 1574 the City of London started regulating the Inn-yard activities which lead to the development of the covered Playhouses and the open Amphitheatres and the ultimate replacement of the Inn-yards for venues of Elizabethan plays and theatres.

White Hart Inn - Interesting Facts and Information about Inn - Yard Elizabethan Theatres
Interesting Facts and information about the White Hart Inn Elizabethan Theatre

  • Name of this type of Elizabethan Theatre taken directly from the yard of an Inn
  • Elizabethan plays were performed in the cobbled courtyard
  • Audience capacity of an Elizabethan Inn-Yard - up to 500
  • There was gambling and there was even bear baiting in some of the Inn-yards

The Borough history and the White Hart
The Borough (of Southwark) is located by the river Thames. The village centre was around Borough High Street and it was originally in the county of Surrey. The following entries can be found confirming the History of the Borough
1406 The First reference to White Hart Inn in Southwark.
1450 Jack Cade used White Hart Inn as his headquarters during his rebellion

White Hart Inn - William Shakespeare Play Henry VI
This particular Inn played an important in history and in William Shakespeare's play Henry VI. In his play, Henry VI, Shakespeare refers  to the rebel Jack Cade choosing the White Hart Inn for his headquarters. Jack Cade led a rebellion in Kent in 1450, calling himself ‘John Mortimer’ in sympathy with York and setting up residence at the White Hart Inn in Southwark (the white hart had been the symbol of the deposed Richard II).

White Hart Inn
The White Hart Inn one of the Famous London Inns which was used as a venue for Elizabethan plays and theatre prior to the opening of Playhouses and purpose built Elizabethan Amphitheatres in London such as the Globe Theatre.

Elizabethan Theatre
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