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Historical NotesPublic performances began in the courtyards of large inns. Londonís first theater was built in 1576 outside city limits. The theater at first failed but by the late 1580s similar theaters were all over London. The first theaters looked like the courtyards that were once used. Three-story galleries were built on three sides facing the stage. People would sit in the galleries but the ones who couldn't afford a seat stood on the ground around the stage.
Only men could be actors at the time. Womenís roles were generally played by young boys under the age of 12. Shakespeare in Love, an Academy Award winning film, provides an entertaining look at a performance of a play using men in womenís roles.
For additional information:Ye Olde Renaissance Map
~ Classroom aid that takes students back in time to the Renaissance