Elizabeth Ist coat of arms

George Inn

Picture of the George Inn

Picture of the George Inn

History of the George Inn Theatre
The George Inn situated in Southwark also served as an Elizabethan inn-yard theatre. The history of The George can be traced back to 1542 although it is likely that an inn existed here for some time before. The George Inn was built around three sides of a courtyard - thus spawning the expression 'inn-yard'.

Its wide, double-tiered balconies became an excellent vantage point for the Elizabethan plays that would be acted out below.William Shakespeare lived and worked in the area of the George Inn and there is no doubt that he would have frequented the Inn on a regular basis and even possibly have played there. Sadly, the George Inn that Shakespeare knew was burnt down in 1676 but the house was immediately rebuilt to the original plans. It remained unchanged until the turn of this century, when it was partly demolished for the Great Northern Railway Goods Office.

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

  • London Location of the George Inn - Borough High Street, Southwark
  • Elizabethan plays were performed in the courtyards of the George Inn - 1576 - 1594
  • The Elizabethan Acting Troupes would negotiate with the owner, or vintner, of the George Inn in order to stage a performance at the George Inn
  • The Cobbled Courtyard of the George Inn was the site of Elizabethan plays - a temporary stage would be erected, by the actors, on trestles
  • People who wanted to watch the plays at the George 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.

George Inn - Interesting Facts and Information about Inn- Yard Elizabethan Theatres
Interesting Facts and information about the George 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

George Inn
The George 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.

George Inn - Last remaining Galleried Inn
The George Inn is the last remaining galleried coaching inn in London and is now protected by the National Trust. It still functions as a pub and restaurant and even as a stage set for Shakespeare's plays. Unfortunately, only the south side remains, the rest of the inn having been demolished for the construction of warehouses by the Great Northern Railway. It is located in a cobbled courtyard just off of Borough High Street, London.

Elizabethan Theatre
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