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Shakespeare's Theatre: A History

ISBN: 978-1-4051-1513-1
496 pages
January 2018, Wiley-Blackwell


Shakespeare’s Theatre: A History examines the theatre spaces used by William Shakespeare, and explores these spaces in relation to the social and political framework of the Elizabethan era. The text journeys from the performing spaces of the provincial inns, guild halls and houses of the gentry of the Bard’s early career, to the purpose-built outdoor playhouses of London, including the Globe, the Theatre, and the Curtain, and the royal courts of Elizabeth and James I. The author also discusses the players for whom Shakespeare wrote, and the positioning—or dispositioning—of audience members in relation to the stage.

Widely and deeply researched, this fascinating volume is the first to draw on the most recent archaeological work on the remains of the Rose and the Globe, as well as continuing publications from the Records of Early English Drama project. The book also explores the contentious view that the ‘plot’ of The Seven Deadly Sins (part II), provides unprecedented insight into the working practices of Shakespeare’s company and includes a complete and modernized version of the ‘plot’. Throughout, the author relates the practicalities of early modern playing to the evolving systems of aristocratic patronage and royal licensing within which they developed

Insightful and engaging, Shakespeare’s Theatre is ideal reading for undergraduates, postgraduates, and scholars of literature and theatre studies. 

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Table of Contents



Chapter One: The Early Years

Chapter Two : Possible Beginnings

Chapter Three:  Shakespeare on the Record and the Stages of 1594: Newington Butts, the Theatre, Greenwich Palace, and Gray’s Inn

Chapter Four:  The Chamberlain’s / King’s Men and their  Organization

Chapter Five:  A Stormy Passage, from the Theatre,  via the Curtain, to the Globe

Chapter Six:  ‘The Great Globe Itself’

Chapter Seven:  A New Reign

Chapter Eight:  The Blackfriars

Appendix 1  Chamberlain’s/King’s Men’s Plays 1594-1614, other than by Shakespeare   



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Author Information

Richard Dutton, PhD, is Professor of English at Queen’s University, Belfast, and Humanities Distinguished Professor of English (Emeritus) at Ohio State University.  His books included, Shakespeare, Court Dramatist (2016)and Ben Jonson, ‘Volpone’ and the Gunpowder Plot (2008). He is co-editor of the four volume Companion to Shakespeare’s Works (with Jean E. Howard, Wiley Blackwell, 2003). 

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