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Chapter 14 - The Jacobean Banqueting House as a Performance Space

from Part IV - The Material Conditions of Performances at Court

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 October 2019

Sophie Chiari
Affiliation:
Clermont Auvergne University, France
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Summary

In chapter 14, John H. Astington considers the building put up at Whitehall Palace in 1606/7, and destroyed by fire early in 1619. Planned in the first few years of the king’s reign, the design of the interior in particular seems to have aimed to create a new style at Whitehall Palace. The architect was probably Robert Stickells. For plays, the king and his family might have wanted to be nearer to the actors; a royal seat brought forward to nearer the middle of the hall would have allowed space for rising ranks of seating to the rear. For masques, the area in front of the scenic stage was required for both orchestra and singers, and principally for the dancers, who performed in the area formed by the central floor of the building. Besides, Astington explains, the room was also used for court ceremonial of one kind and another: it was the largest gathering place within Whitehall Palace. Finally, Astington’s chapter also deals with what is known about the disposition of audience and performance space for these varying events, and suggests some conclusions about the role of the Banqueting House as a multiple-use space at a particular historical moment.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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