How much did it cost for people to watch a performance at the Shakespeare's 'Globe Theatre' in Shakespeare's time?

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droxonian eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You can actually find out this information from the Globe Theatre itself, although the modern Globe is only the latest iteration of what was, in fact, the first purpose-built theatre in England. In the time of Shakespeare, his plays were entertainment for the masses, and this was reflected in the types of admission that were available. The cheapest seats were not seats at all, but standing admission, which would have cost one penny, or two pennies for use of a bench. This would have been for peasants and farmers, tradesmen and their families, who would come to the theatre to make a day of it in the open air. If you wanted to be inside the indoor part of the theatre, admission would have been six pennies, which sounds very little now but was clearly a much bigger proportion of expenditure than the cheapest standing places. The upper class could frequent the Lord’s Rooms, which would have been much more salubrious accommodation and which were charged variably depending on what else was provided.

janihash24 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It depends both on where people were sitting and also any "extras" they might want to pay for. The groundlings, who stood in "the pit" (you can still do this today at the New Globe in London), are traditionally supposed to have paid a penny for admittance. Those who sat in the galleries, where they would have more comfort, a seat, and distance from the noticeably smelly groundlings, paid at least twice if not three times that amount, plus extra if they wanted to rent a cushion for more comfortable viewing.

Also, the company's patron, his guests, and likely any other VIPs, would not be charged at all, since their attendance added to the luster of the company's performances. In other words, they would be "comped," in modern theatre parlance.

melissa-ragan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It's hard to say exactly what people paid to see a work of Shakespeare in Elizabethean England.

In most works, reference is made to admission price being "a coin". However, during the time coins were minted in demonimations from a 1/4 pence to a guinea.

Suffice to say, most people at the time were not earning very much, so the admission price may have been equal to about a penny.