May 18 2014

The Duchess and Early Modern Playhouses

Published by at 1:30 am under Uncategorized

The King’s Men first performed The Duchess of Malfi at the Blackfriars Theatre, their indoor theatre. The company acquired the theatre, located in the former Blackfriars priory, in 1608, and it became their winter home.

A higher admission price meant a higher class of clientele, and gentlemen would come to seventeenth-century indoor theatres to see and be seen. They might even purchase a seat upon the stage. Playwrights wrote with this new audience in mind, either catering to or liberated by more “sophisticated” tastes.

Not inclined to lose the potential revenue of one of their more popular plays, the King’s Men brought the Duchess and company to the Globe as well.

— Megan Smith, dramaturg

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