What Were Popular Forms of Entertainment in the Elizabethan Era
When the Elizabethan era was in full swing, what were popular forms of entertainment? Sports and games were very popular, and people would gather at local theatres to watch bear-baiting. Bears would be tied to poles and then the audience would place bets on which one would win. Entertainment was also provided by reading, including books in more than one language. Here are some examples of the more common forms of entertainment during this period.
Shakespeare’s plays were widely performed during the Elizabethan era, and many of his plays derived from the works of the Queen. The Elizabethan period was also the birthplace of Christopher Marlowe, a prolific playwright. Despite its relative obscurity, theatre was a popular activity, and theatres were arranged to make them accessible to the poor. Other forms of entertainment included dancing, chess, checkers, and tennis. Lastly, fools and street entertainers were common.
Apart from playing games, people also enjoyed playing sports, including archery, chess, and billiards. Many Elizabethan plays also mention sports and games. In the early reign of Queen Elizabeth, performances were held in the courtyards of public inns and country houses. Other popular forms of entertainment were masked performances and dances. The Elizabethan Queen herself was a huge fan of chess.
The Elizabethan era was also marked by a rise in the Puritan movement. From the 1590s CE onward, Puritans dominated Elizabethan society. They viewed theatre as an immoral gathering place. Others detested the theatre for drawing employees and patronizing other businesses. The Puritans did not have a clear distinction between higher arts and popular entertainment.