All the World’s a Stage: the development of theatre buildings

Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield

This presentation surveys the evolution of theatre buildings from classical times, through the Elizabethan and Restoration periods to the heyday of the Victorian theatre and music hall, leading to the varied approaches of post-war architects to provide performance spaces that suit modern actors and audiences.

Every generation of theatre designers and performers has made the best possible use of up-to-date technology and materials to provide the public with memorable experiences of drama and entertainment.  The amount of physical comfort provided would often be less than a modern audience would tolerate, yet surviving theatre buildings prove remarkably adaptable to current uses and expectations. 

The presentation includes Roman and Renaissance classical theatres, the reproduction Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on London’s South Bank, a range of nineteenth- and twentieth-century theatres, up to such post-war examples as the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield (1971) and the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester (1976/1998).

For background information about this topic, please click here.