Sunday, June 10, 2012

Simon Schama on Shakespeare.

This especially informative article from Simon Schama manages to explain the development of the commercial theatre in Britain in a single paragraph:
"The first owner-manager to convert a tavern yard site into a true theatre was the grocer John Brayne who established one at the Red Lion in the rustic suburb of Whitechapel. Ultimately, the Red Lion was just too far from the punters to make a go of it, but Brayne’s brother-in-law, James Burbage, was a carpenter-joiner as well as an actor, and when they moved the enterprise to the more populous and buzzingly seedy area of Shoreditch, they took over the ruins of a Catholic convent for the new theatre. The symbolism of one kind of spectacle succeeding the other could not have been more eloquent."
Amazing. In all the books I've read on the topic, never have I seen the transition so cleanly and clearly explained.  Schama's Shakespeare series begins on BBC Two on 22nd June.

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