The social order of a modern theater differs from that of the Elizabethan era
At that time, theaters were open-air and served as the main places of entertainment for all classes. Consequently, they were attended by everyone, from workers to lords and the Queen. The rich and noble were also anxious to be seen in all their grandeur, and those who strived to seem richer and rise above the crowd could achieve it when attending a theater. In theaters of old times, there were two distinct areas. The first was a cheaper, not prestigious yard with many inconveniences – from rain, snow, and terrible smell to pushing neighbors and pickpocketing. The second area was the galleries, partially or fully free from this discomfort, but also featuring seats. Seating higher and closer to the stage in the galleries was also directly associated with prestige. As the above-mentioned inconveniences are not present in modern theaters, and everyone now has a seat, those criteria are no more relevant.
Today, the main criterion for choosing a seat is how well the performance can be seen from it
So, the best seating is in the front orchestra. Prices there are the highest, and the seats are referred as premium. However, they do not contribute to the status of people sitting there; it is merely an optimal angle of view and distance. Because of these changes, the boxes are not generally considered a good place for watching a production; though in Britain, for instance, private boxes keep their traditional exclusive status and are used by the high class. Nevertheless, in general, people from high classes craving for publicity can obtain it elsewhere without visiting theaters. As people now can have their quantum of fun by watching TV, going to cinemas, surfing the Internet or reading books, theater is not the only entertainment for them. So, poor people and people with a low education level go to the theater less frequently than in Shakespeare’s time. These days, theater audience mostly consists of those who love theatrical performances or just want to be more intelligent and expand their experiences.