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A range of stage properties and special effects were used to add spectacle to performances in early modern playhouses. Gunpowder was often used for special effects, most memorably on the day the Globe burned down. Wadding had been used along with the gunpowder in the small canon which was fired. Although no cannon balls were […]Continue reading

Eighteen of Shakespeare’s plays were printed during his lifetime in cheap versions known as ‘quartos’. A quarto was a book made from printed sheets which had been folded into four sections. When the large sheet of paper was folded in half, and then in half again, it resulted in four double-sided leaves. The smaller size […]Continue reading

Bear-baiting was a popular form of entertainment in London in the sixteenth century. The bear-baiting pits on the south bank of the Thames frequently attracted large crowds to watch the blood-sport. The Bear Garden was one of the amphitheatres that staged the blood-thirsty spectacle of a chained bear defending itself against the mastiff dogs trained […]Continue reading

The English author Robert Greene died on 3 September 1592, and a posthumous  pamphlet was published at his dying request. It was titled Green’s Groatsworth of Wit, bought with a million of repentance. Describing the folly of youth, the falsehood of makeshift flatterers and mischiefs of deceiving courtesans. In this pamphlet, Greene supposedly refers to […]Continue reading

In September 1607, Hamlet and Richard II were performed aboard the Red Dragon. The Red Dragon, captained by William Keeling, was an East India Company ship travelling from England to India and the Spice Islands during the third voyage of the East India Company. Apparently, the Red Dragon and the Hector, another ship travelling to […]Continue reading

Shakespeare’s mother Mary was buried in Stratford-upon-Avon on 9 September 1608 at the end of a long and eventful life. Mary Arden was from a farming family considered to be part of the local gentry in Warwickshire. She was born during the reign of Henry VIII in Wilmcote, a small village with one main street […]Continue reading