How did Elizabethan theatre contribute to English society?teaching this for the first time- looking for key points to highlight

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playsthething eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Theatre was very popular during the Elizabethan time period.  From the moment that the flag went up on the playhouse, signifying a play was to be performed that day, the excitement was palpable.  It's purpose was to entertain, primarily.  The audience was comprised of all types of people, from the lowest class to nobility.  The audience didn't necessarily mix; each group had their own section of the theatre.  The  upper class was in the boxes; middle class in the gallery, and the lower class was in the pit. And this audience was very much involved in the play - this was not a time of an audience sitting in hushed silence to view a performance!

Watch the beginning of Laurence Olivier's Henry V to get a a good vision of Elizabethan production values and style.  He shows the backstage (inside the tiring house) as well as the audience, while at the same time depicting the acting style of the time on stage.  I always show this to help my students understand the big picture; works much better than drawings and lectures.