Playgoing in Shakespeare's London
by Andrew Gurr
Who were the people for whom Shakespeare wrote his plays? What was it like to go to a play in the London playhouses between 1567 and 1642? What were ... Show synopsis Who were the people for whom Shakespeare wrote his plays? What was it like to go to a play in the London playhouses between 1567 and 1642? What were the social and cultural backgrounds of these playgoers? Assembling all the evidence from the writings of the time to answer these questions, Gurr describes the structure of the playhouses, the cost of entry, the size of crowds, the smells, and the pickpockets, identifying who went to which plays and at which theater. In contrast to previous oversimplified accounts of Shakespeare's audience, which have portrayed typical playgoers as either London artisans or wealthy gallants, Gurr emphasizes the radical divergence of different playhouses catering to different sections of society and the way in which popular tastes in plays grew and diversified during the period. The core of the evidence is contained in two appendices, one listing all the people known to have attended plays, the other listing all the significant contemporary comments on playgoing. Illustrations depict the location and shape of the different playhouses and include portraits of some of the personalities involved.