Blackfriars Theater

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Blackfriars Theater was the name of two theaters that existed in succession in the City of London at the end of the 16th and first half of the 17th centuries.

Presumed replica of the second Blackfriars Theater based on contemporary evidence by G. Topham Forrest, 1921


Parts of an abandoned, from 1576 Richard Farrant († 1580 * ca. 1530) rented Dominicans - Monastery for Children Of The Chapel Royal , a project led by him royal Boys Theater. There the child actors were able to rehearse before performing their plays at court. In 1596 the active theater entrepreneur James Burbage (* approx. 1531; † 1597) acquired another part of the monastery and converted it into a hall-like stage. Due to angry protests from the noble neighbors, however, he had to lease his theater to children's stages again after a while. He bequeathed the venue to his son Richard Burbage , who was a successful actor in the Lord Chamberlain's Men , in 1597 . William Shakespeare wrote numerous plays for this troupe, which from 1603 could call itself The King's Men .

To the great displeasure of some noble residents, the second Blackfriars Theater (the older children's theater already bore this name) developed into the much-visited winter residence of Shakespeare's drama troupe from 1608 onwards. In contrast to the open Globe Theater , it was possible to play in a closed, more intimate hall, which offered new possibilities. For the first time, pieces of music and lighting effects could be integrated into the theater performances. When the English Civil War broke out in 1642, the Blackfriars Theater was forcibly closed, fell into ruin and was finally demolished on August 6, 1655.


  • In 1962, the Catholic Theater of Rochester (New York) , founded in 1950 , was renamed Blackfriars Theater . The Off-Broadway company has had its own playhouse in the cultural district of Rochester since 1997 with a renovated historic theater.
  • On September 21, 2001, the American touring stage Shenandoah Shakespeare Express (today: American Shakespeare Center ) , which has existed since 1988, opened a replica of the historic Blackfriars Theater as The Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Virginia . In addition to Shakespearean dramas, the plays by other Renaissance authors are also performed. An extensive school educational program is part of the concept of the playhouse.

See also


  • Wallace, Charles William: The children of the chapel at Blackfriars, 1597-1603 . - Lincoln: University of Nebraska, 1908. - XII, 207 pp. - (University studies, Vol. VIII, No. 2,3). - (also Diss., Univ. Freiburg i. Br., Phil. Fac., 1906)
  • Wallace, Charles William: The Evolution of the English drama up to 'Shakespeare: With a history of the first Blackfriars theater; A survey based upon orig. records now for the first time . - Berlin: G. Reimer, 1912. - XXI, 246 pp. - (Writings of the German Shakespeare Society  ; Vol. 4)
  • Isaacs, Jacob: Production and stage management at the blackfriars theater . - London: Milford, 1933. - 28 pp. - (Shakespeare Association)
  • Smith, Irwin: Shakespeare's Blackfriars Playhouse; its history and its design / preface by James G. McManaway. - New York: New York University Press, 1964. - XX, 577 pp.
  • Wren, Robert Meriwether: The Blackfriars Theater and its repertory, 1600-1608 . - 1965. - V, 507 pp. - (Diss., Princeton University )
  • Seo, Dong-ha: How the Blackfriars became Shakespeare's playhouse: the social and cultural history of the Blackfriars Playhouse . - Birmingham: University of Birmingham, 2005. - (Diss., MA, Shakespeare Institute)

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. See Blackfriars Theater . On: Luminarium Encyclopedia Project . Retrieved on August 4, 2015. See also Ina Schabert (Ed.): Shakespeare-Handbuch. Time, man, work, posterity. 5th, revised and supplemented edition. Kröner, Stuttgart 2009, ISBN 978-3-520-38605-2 , p. 81. See also the representation in Joseph Quincy Adams: Shakespearean Playhouses. A History of English Theaters from the Beginnings to the Restoration . Reprinted from 1917 edition by Peter Smith Publishers, Gloucester, Mass. 1960, Chapters V and XI, online at Project Gutenberg [1] .

Coordinates: 51 ° 30 ′ 46 ″  N , 0 ° 6 ′ 9 ″  W.