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Hope playhouse

Philip Henslowe

alias second Bear Garden
history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)1614 | opening

(detail)1656 | demolition



Unroofed theatre and Bear-baiting arena. The Amphitheatre was located on the Bankside in Southwark on the site of the Bear Garden. Philip Henslowe and Jacob Meade cleared the site and built the theater in 1613-14. The contract for the Hope, dated Aug. 29, 1613 survived (as did the contract for the Fortune Theatre) It describes the structure and indicates that, except for the movable stage which was a necessary feature because of its dual purpose as a bear-baiting ring, it was designed after the Swan Theatre. It was agreed that bearbaiting would occupy the theater only once every two weeks but the sport proved to be more profitable than the plays. Players to left the theatre after Henslowe's death in 1616. The theatre was rarely used for plays after 1616 but bearbaiting continued until 1656 when the Hope was closed as a result of several bearbaiting accidents.


IN: http://www.william-shakespeare.info/the-hope-theatre-picture.htm


This began as the Bear Garden for bull- and bear-baiting, and in about 1613 was adapted by Henslowe to house plays as well. In shape and size it resembled the Swan, but the stage could be removed for the baitings and there were stables for six bulls and three horses. Henslowe and his leading actor, Alleyn, probably hoped to capture the audience of the Globe, which had just been burnt down, and engaged the Lady Elizabeth's Men headed by Nathan Field, who spent the season of 1614-15 at the Hope, as it was now called. One of the new plays in which they appeared was Jonson's Bartholomew Fair (1614). Henslowe died in Jan. 1616 and a new agreement was made between Edward Alleyn and the actors, now known as Prince Charles's Men. But constant quarrels and litigation went on for a couple of years, during which time the Globe was rebuilt. The Hope reverted entirely to baiting and was dismantled in 1656, though the building was apparently still standing in 1682-3.



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