court theatre



  • (in England) Although England never had an official court theaterto compare with that of Louis XIV at Versailles or Goethe's CourtTheatre at Weimar, the English royal household had a long historyof welcoming players. In the Elizabethan era many new works were firstpresented at court, including Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.Halls and other large rooms were adapted for the entertainments andif necessary the plays were altered to fit the available space.

    In the early 17th century the elaborate court masquesfavoured by the Stuart kings were held in more specialized venues,such as the Banqueting Hall and Masquing house in Whitehall and theGreat Hall at Hampton Court. In 1604 Inigo Jones convertedthe Cockpit-in-Court into an intimate theater. Although Charles IIwas a keen theatregoer the custom of presenting new works for purelyroyal pleasure declined after the Restoration; the era of Englishcourt theater had effectively ended.