Shakespeare was a member of a theatre company called the Lord Chamberlain’s Men. He was their chief playwright, writing about two plays per year, and he also appeared as an actor. Shakespeare was also a shareholder in the acting company.
As only men were allowed to act onstage, all theatre companies were made up of men, with a few boys aged 8 – 12 who played the female parts.
In 1597 the theatre company’s lease on the theatre they were using ran out. Their landlord wanted to pull down the theatre and use the timber for something else! So what they did was this: they gathered together in the middle of the night, dismantled the theatre piece by piece, and transported the timber across the Thames River, where they rebuilt the theatre south of the river.
The new theatre was called the Globe; it had twenty short sides so it formed a circle. It could seat 3,000 people. Shakespeare also owned a share in the new theatre.
The theatre was attended by everyone, rich and poor. It was one of the few places where everyone could meet on equal terms.