Saturday Scenes

Fri 14 December 2012

All the World’s a Stage

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 12:23

On the 8th of December in 1660, the first actress appeared onstage in England. During the Renaissance, women were banned from performing on the English stage during the beginnings of professional English theatre. There was no legal prohibition; it was simply considered unacceptable. Female roles were generally played by pre-pubescent boys, whose high-pitched voices were thought to sound more like women. Many young actors worked in the industry by filling female roles for a few years and then making their way to male roles.

Margaret Hughes

During the Renaissance women had been almost exclusively banned from appearing as actresses on the stage, and there was a history of embarrassing incidents occurring for male actors in female roles. One famous incident occurred when a play which King Charles II was watching suddenly stopped. When he sent servants to see what the problem was it was found that the male that was supposed to play one of the female parts was still shaving. There were also concerns over this practice encouraging ‘unnatural vice’, which added to Charles’ decision to issue a royal warrant in 1662 declaring that all female roles should be played only by female actresses.

A woman finally played Desdemona in the performance of Othello on the 8th of December in 1660, marking the first time a woman appeared on an English public stage. Sadly, we aren’t quite sure which woman played the role, although it’s likely that it was Margaret Hughes.

On the 8th of December in 2012, men and women all pulled out all the stops by posting these fabulous photographs on Twitter:

And here are the excellent photographers who captured performances all over the world:

Time is running out! If you haven’t submitted a Saturday Scene yet this year then you might miss your chance to be added to our spectacular list:

Saturday Scenes 2012 on Twitter

We currently have 128 members – that’s 128 people who have submitted Saturday Scenes this year. To those of you on the list: you are all amazing! Keep it up! And for those who haven’t submitted a photograph yet: all you have to do is tweet a photograph and location to @Satscenes – so what’s stopping you?

See you next week!

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