In the sixteenth century in England,since no women were allowed in the theatre, young men played the roles of women. It seems odd to us today to imagine the seductive words of Romeo being said to a young man, but the audiences of the Elizabethan age were accustomed to this arrangement;with elaborate and expensive costumes for the actors and with the aid of the English imagination, the compensation was made. In addition, the appreciation for the beauty of the language and the intriguing plots of Shakespeare mitigated many detractions from the less sophisticated theatre.
England, in fact, was the last of the European countries to accept women on stage. In 1629 a visiting company of French players gave performances at Blackfriars employing actresses. However, the women were hissed and "pippin=pelted" from the stage. The English boy actors, often members of the choir at church, were very popular, having been well trained at their schools.