Internet Shakespeare Editions


Drama at Court

Adapted from Baldassarino Belgiojoso,
Balet Comique de la Royne (Paris, 1582).

Court drama evolved its own conventions in the mid and late sixteenth century with tragedies like Gorboduc and the comedies of John Lyly.

Here the performance in a hall at court shows spectators in the galleries, a general scene behind the stage (which is the floor of the hall) and two "houses," or structures on stage indicating location -- here a cave and a copse of trees, one on each side of the stage. The public stage may also have employed structures similar to the houses.

Many of Shakespeare's plays are known to have been acted at Court, either because the title pages of the plays when first published say so (it was obviously a selling point), or because the accounts of the Revels Office record payments for them.