During the Italian Renaissance, new architectural designs in theaters were being discovered. Theatre designs and scenery on stage were revolutionized in this period (Goldfarb and Wilson 140). In this time, three particular theatre buildings were founded that still stand today, which is really cool because they were created in the 1500s! These theaters are known as Teatro Olimpico, the theatre at Sabbioneta, and Teatro Farnese and the proscenium stage.
The Teatro Olimpico was the oldest of the three. This theatre was in fact built with intention of being used as an Olympic Academy in Vicenza. When the chief architect on the project, Andrea Palladio, died, the structure was continued and completed and built into a theatre by Vincenzo Scamozzi in 1584. The venue was modeled after the structure of a Roman theatre. The difference is that it is indoor and smaller. This theatre holds room for three thousand audience members! They are seated on elliptical benches that create a semicircular orchestra (Goldfarb and Wilson 141). The stage was raised as it is in modern auditorium style seating. This theatre specialized in creating three demential set pieces and creating the illusion of depth on the stage. They accomplished this by having openings in the facade that would have ally ways or street scenes that appeared to be happening in the distance (Goldfarb and Wilson 141). The theatre was very innovative.
The next is the theatre at Sabbioneta. This theatre was built by Scamozzi in 1588. This theatre was different because it was very small, holding only 250 seats. It can be seen as a smaller and intimate version of the Teatro Olimpico (Goldfarb and Wilson 141). The stage is raised and has a painted panoramic scene at the back. This theatre was simple and did its job.
The last of the three is the Teatro Farnese and the proscenium stage. Teatro Farnese was constructed by architect Giovan Battista Aleotti. He created the Teatro Farnese in Parma which became the most well known and impressive theatre building of the Italian Renaissance (Goldfarb and Wilson 142). The raised horseshoe seating in this theatre held 3,500 audience members. The orchestra in this theatre could actually be filled with water to create scenes at sea on stage! The most important part of the Teatro Farnese was the invention of the proscenium-arch stage (Goldfarb and Wilson 143). The proscenium arch is now one of the most popular of theatre spaces and is used constantly in theatres all over the world. The proscenium allows stage mechanisms to be hidden from the audience, contributing to realism on stage (Goldfarb and Wilson 143). The Teatro Farnese was revolutionary.
Wilson, Edwin, and Alvin Goldfarb. Living Theatre: History of Theatre. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2012. Print.