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Little Known Facts About Theatre

If you saw my comparison of old playbills to new playbills, you'll remember that the playbills from the '80s are very different to playbills from 2017. And one thing I found very interesting was a section called "Did You Know? Little Known Facts About Theatre". So I decided it would be fun to share some of these facts with all of you. Enjoy!

This post was adapted from an article in a February 1981 playbill for Amadeus. The full, original article was written by Sy Sussman.

1. The first permanent theatre built in Manhattan was the John Street Playhouse which was built in 1767. It remained until 1799 practically the only theatre in New York City.

2. Shakespeare did not originate the phrase, "All the world's a stage." An old Greek poem written by Palladius of Alexandria, centuries before Shakespeare, wrote: "All the world's a stage, a show; then learn thy part with all thy heart or bear the burden of thy woe."

3. Sir Henry Irving, who was knighted in 1895, was the first actor to receive this honor.

4. The shortest run of a play happened in London, on March 11, 1930, when the Intimate Revue at the Duchess Theatre was stopped after the first half.

5. The first character impersonated by a woman on the English stage was Desdemona in Othello.

6. The Green Room is so called because at one time the walls were painted green to relieve eyes of players affected by the glare of stage lights.

7. An actor is called a Thespian since Thespis, sixth century B.C. is the reputed founder of Greek tragedy.

8. Anthony Alston is said to have been the first actor to play in New York.

9. The oldest indoor theatre in the world is the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza, Italy. Designed by Palladio in Roman style, it was finished after his death by his pupil Scamozzi in 1582. It is preserved today in its original form.

10. Owen Davis, who had written more than 250 plays, is the most prolific playwright in the American theatre.

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