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Before Henry VIII broke up the Catholic Church in England most plays were put on by the church and guilds (like modern trade-unions) about Bible stories.
After Henry got rid of the monasteries, travelling players used to roam the country putting on plays in the courtyards of inns (pubs that you could stay at.)
Even the Romans might have baulked at watching Big Brother...
...and they watched people being eaten by lions!
Players (actors) weren’t the only entertainers though. Very popular was animal baiting. Cocks, dogs, bears and bulls were all made to fight each other whilst people watched and made bets.
It had become dangerous to put on plays about religious subjects so playwrights and theatre owners started to put on plays inspired by Roman stories. These would be popular because they would have lots of gory bits.
Queen Elizabeth I loved the theatre and her favourite playwright was William Shakespeare. He worked out of the Globe Theatre in London.
If you were rich you would be able to afford a seat in the balconies of the Globe Theatre but it wasn’t just rich people who liked the theatre! Those who couldn't afford the seats would be able to stand on the ground around the stage – they became known as groundlings.
The Elizabethan theatre would have been a very noisy place – people shouting things and throwing rotten vegetables at the actors was common!
Can you untangle the names of these Shakespeare plays?
1) T H E L M A 2) H E L L T O O
3) N I K E G L A R 4) F W E L T H T H I N G T
5) B A T M E C H