The early Elizabethan drama, before the regular playhouses were constructed, permeated a gamut of the social life of the times. Nicholas Udall’s plays were school plays enacted by the boys as part of the liberalized school curriculum. In spite of their amateur playing, they used to be requisitioned to stage the plays before royal dignitaries or in the court itself.
The early English tragedy had its advent at the Inns of the court. Gorboduc was written and produced by two lawyers at the Inner Temple. Oxford and Cambridge became important centers for staging Latin drama so much that even Queen Elizabeth used to visit the universities to witness the performances. Later, the royal court, with the ostensible purpose of regulating theatre assumed the function of theatrical organization providing grants and costumes to several amateur boy groups.
John Lyly staged several comedies for Queen Elizabeth and established the genre of Elizabethan comedy and tragedy, however, could not find patronage either at the royal court or in London. It had to await the advent of adult acting companies and the erection of public theatres on the outskirts of the London. It is in these theatres like the curtain, the rose, and the globe that the Elizabethan stage came into being, i.e. a stage that introduced the plays of Marlow and Shakespeare.
While the growth of Elizabethan drama as a native tradition was a steady one moving self- assuredly without meekly copying classical models, the same would not have been possible without Elizabethan drama registering itself as significant European theatre since the Greek drama of the 5th century BC. In its European phase, Elizabethan theatre not only integrated within itself various elements of classical drama but also the Greek formulations about comedy and tragedy. The task for the Elizabethans was not only to be forcefully English but also thoughtfully European and distinctively Elizabethan.