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Lighting the Shakespearean Stage, 1567 - 1642

Lighting the Shakespearean Stage, 1567 - 1642

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R. B. Graves


Paperback (Other formats: Hardcover)
288 pages, 6 x 9, 35 illustrations


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About the Book

In Lighting the Shakespearean Stage, 1567–1642,R. B. Graves examines the lighting of early modern English drama from both historical and aesthetic perspectives. He traces the contrasting traditions of sunlit amphitheaters and candlelit hall playhouses, describes the different lighting techniques, and estimates the effect of these techniques both indoors and outdoors.

Graves discusses the importance of stage lighting in determining the dramatic effect, even in cases where the manipulation of light was not under the direct control of the theater artists. He devotes a chapter to the early modern lighting equipment available to English Renaissance actors and surveys theatrical lighting before the construction of permanent playhouses in London. Elizabethan stage lighting, he argues, drew on both classical and medieval precedents.


R. B. Graves is an associate professor and director of the Ph.D. program in theater at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.


“This is scholarship of an impressively high order. Graves seems to have exhausted all available original historical data and fruitful modern speculation on this subject; and his arguments from these sources are very persuasive. Equally persuasive are his original and in­genious measurements of theatrical venues by date/time/light-angle/distance which, strangely, no one else has thought to try.”—Philip H. Highfill Jr., author (with Kalman A. Burnim) of John Bell, Patron of British The­atrical Portraiture: A Catalog of the Theatrical Portraits in His Editions of Bell’s Shakespeare and Bell’s British Theatre