Thursday, 27 September 2012

The Globe Theatre

Lets start with its history:

  • The Globe Theatre is situated in London, England. 
  • It is often associated with William Shakepeare as many of his plays were performed there.
  • The Lord Chamberlain's Men created the theatre in 1599. 
  • It was lost in a fire when a cannon shot during a performance of Henry VIII ignited the thatched roof of the gallery in 1613. 
  • The theatre was re-built on the same grounds due to it's popularity in June 1614, but this was closed down in 1642.
  • A theatre built in memory of the theatre was opened in 1997 near the original site, and was named "Shakespeares Globe".

The Original Globe was built like the Coliseum in Rome, but smaller, it still could have an audience of over 1500 people and was an impressive theatre to work in. It was made completely open and the majority of the audience would stand and this made the theatre cheaper as the only people who would sit were the rich and the seats were actually placed above the stage.

Different coloured flags would have been used outside the Globe to show the type of play that was to be performances.

  • A black flag was used for a tragedy.
  • A white flag would show that a comedy was to be performed.
  • A red flag advertised a history.
This Theatre was made famous by Shakespeare but the theatre itself was and is extremely impressive, made of mostly timber the area picked so that the performances could be performed during the day while the light was lighting up the entire area.

This link explains alot about the structure of the old Globe Theatre if you would like to learn more:

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The Theatre

The modern day theatre is usually constructed to support the large crowds that come to perform or watch perfomrances. It also has to have very good acoustics to allow the sound from the stage and sound systems to travel throughout the audiance so that everyone in the place can clearly hear what is happening on the stage. Usually with larger theatres, they will have a slanted, well-shaped seating area with balconies at either side and seating built above is dress circles or other areas.

The stage will be built slightly raised for most theatres and each perfomramance will require a differnt set and special effects. The stage will normally have large supports above it and to each side to hold lights, speakers and wiring, because of the heat ommited by these they will often include fire-proof or safety curtains as well as the usual thick curtains behind them.

Scene shot from The Lion King -
   The seating area (the stalls or arena) on the lower floor are often below or the same height as the stage and the orchestra can mostly be found under or just beside the stage. This is so the sound can resinate throughout the theatre as they play any music necssary for the specific show.
Some example's of exceptions of this would be the London cast's perfomance of 'The Lion King', where they have their drummers in the balconies just above the sides of the stage, Chicago on Broadway where they had the band in the centre of the stage and We Will Rock You in The West End where the band was on a side balcony overlooking it, and one of the guitarist came down onto the stage for a song completely.

The Lion King's perfomance contained performers moving throughout the audienance and even moving from the upper floors to the stage spinning bird props above the audience's heads.

The stage will have any special effects done to it that is needed such as gutters for people to came out of or turntables etc.. many different sets will need  different effects and so the way the stage is built will often become very specific to a particular show.

(Imelda Staunton (Mrs Lovett) and Michael Ball (Sweeney Todd) -

The other thing that is particular to a show is backdrops and set buildings. They can vary greatly from the bright, colourful land of Oz to the dark, deathly barber shop of Mr. Todd. Backdrops are an extremely important part of any show as it really sets the scene of each show... without it, audiences would not be able to completely understand the story properly. When making a set, the construction can be done throughout the world and more elaborate sets may need to be constructed separately in different places before coming to the final place to be put together. This creates employment on a world wide basis and different expertise can be found for their skills everywhere.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Ancient Greek Theatre

All over the world, different types of theatre have developed, 
In ancient Greece, plays were performed by all male amateur actors. Most Greek theatres were made so that sound could travel to all the seats in the area but the actors still had to over emphasise their gestures and speak in very loud voices so the the sound would transfer enough for the story to be heard and seen clearly throughout the theatre.
The building for theatre was called a theatron, normally openly constructed and on a sloping hill and contained three main areas; the audience, the skene, and the orchestra.
The skene is what we would consider to be a backstage area. It is a large building behind the orchestra. It began as a simple tent but soon became stone and this is where people could change their costumes or masks for different scenes in the play. This building sometimes even became part of the scenery or allowed for special effects in the more advanced theatres.
Greek theatre has greatly influenced modern day theatre and performance techniques. So much so that some of their theatres are still counted among the best in the world and are continuing to hold performances on a regular basis.

This is a short segment from the Discovery Channel's 'Seven Wonders of Ancient Greece.' About The Theatre Of Epidaurus.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

New York and Broadway

New York State is in the northeastern part of the United States of America. It is best known for New York city with its Manhatton sky scrappers but the state itself is covered in forests, rivers and mountains. New York is ranked as the 27th largest state and is probably one of the most famous places in the USA.
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I was in New York a few years back and vivedly remember the contrast in surroundings, the city was full with amazing archetecture and massive crowds whereas just beyond the city lines was a lot more peaceful and quiet nature.

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The image above is a very famous site crossing over the Brooklyn Bridge. Broadway is definitely my favourit part of New York, I remember walking down the street and being amazed at the lights and posters with so many theatre goers. Looking up the street you see bright lights and hear music all around, the area is almost always buzzing and the 40 + professional theatres are kept to the highest standards.
Broadway shows sold around $1.081 billion worth of tickets in 2011 with an attendance of 12.13 million.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

London and The West End

One of my main discussion points on my blog will be about the West End in London.

London is in the South of Britain. Not only is it an important tourist area for the country but it is also the capital of England. It had an approximate area of 1,579 square kilometres with a population of 8,174,100 in March 2011. London also has the River Thames running through it which is a huge influence with London being a port for this river.

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The West End of London is known as 'Theatreland'. It includes over 40 theatres with its longest running musical being Les Miserables but Agatha Christies' play The Mousetrap is the longest running show in the world. Both of these attractions as well as the other shows in the West End of London are a major tourist attraction which holds many shops, government buildings and occasions, attractions and entertainment venues. It is usually very busy from tourists and was especially packed during the London 2012 Olympics while visitors and athletes were coming in to watch the games.

Thursday, 6 September 2012


Hi, my name's Susan Bryan and I'm in transition year in Dublin. As part of my environmental studies course, I am doing the Geography Of The Theatre! That probably makes very little sense, but I wish to explore where the most elaborate theatres are, where a selection of different plays and musicals are based and how accurate the sets are. Along with other things of course but I would like to focus in on a few particular examples.
During my blogs I will be exploring the social and economical, as well as the actual geographical specifications of different theatres, plays and musicals.
As many of you probably already know, there are two main musical districts in the world that everyone knows: Broadway in New York and The West End in London, both of these areas are full with theatres made with materials from all over the world. Elaborate sets are made for each show and the cast will often travel on tour to other countries, but why are these such important performance areas? And what influence do they have?