English Renaissance


  • Queen Victoria ruled for 45 years and allowed the arts to thrive
  • Age plagued by religious and physical conflict
  • Clothes determined your social class

Plays and Playwrights

  • William Shakespeare – The most known playwright today
    • Some plays include
      • Julius Caesar
      • A Midsummer’s Night Dream
      • Romeo and Juliet
  • Thomas Kyd
    • Best known play
      • The Spanish Tragedy
  • Ben Johnson
    • Best Known play
      • Volpone

Conventions of Theater

  • Lighting
    • Done with candles or early in the day since there were no electrical lights
  • Stage
    • Most notable is “Globe Theater”, Shakespeare’s stage
  • Costumes
    • Brightly colored so the actors were still visible in the dark
    • Often helped portray gender since all actors were male
    • Very expensive
  • Sounds
    • Often used instruments to signify what kind of character was entering the scene
    • Other sounds were actually what they were supposed be such as a cannon was an actual cannon in the play.




  • Big cultural movement
    • inspired by cultural diffusion, which lead to new ideas and technologies
      • Printing press was biggest invention
  • New societal movements
    • Humanism was a very important one
      • Questioned human potential on earth
        • Led to more enthused look on sciences
  • New forms of art
    • Realism
      • Made art more life-like
    • Emotion
      • Made the viewer feel something when seeing it
    • Perspective
      • Gave depth to paintings
  • The Church
    • Largest figure in European history, challenged only by the Greek/Roman empire
    • Corrupt
      • Caused the Protestant reformation.
        • Lots of death


  • Shakespeare
    • Never attended Uni
    • Wrote some of the most famous plays in history
    • Was born in April, 1564
  • Thomas Kyd
    • Born 1558
    • Wrote foundation for Hamlet


  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Julius Caesar
  • Hamlet


  • Shakespeare’s theatre
    • “Globe theatre”
    • Rectangular with open ceiling for light
  • Lighting
    • Started in the afternoon because they needed natural light
      • Could perform 10-11 plays a day
  • Sound
    • Used physical effects for sound effects
      • Actually fired a cannon for a cannon sound
    • Rolled drums around for thunder effect
  • Make Up
    • Heavy make up because women couldn’t perform in the plays
      • So the guys would use white make up and be the women
    • Wore nice clothing
      • Dyed clothes symbolized wealth