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Shakespeare's Theatre: A History

Richard Dutton

ISBN: 978-1-118-93932-1 January 2018 Wiley-Blackwell 384 Pages


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. 

List of Illustrations x

List of Boxes xi

Preface xii

Introduction 1

Palamon and Arcite was Performed with the Queen Herself Present on the Stage 1

The Upstart Crow 7

Notes 17

1 The Early Years 19

Stratford and Staging Practices 19

Princely Pleasures at Kenilworth 25

Mystery Cycles and Trade Guilds 27

Competing Authorities 28

Straws in the Wind 29

A System of Protection and Control 33

Roads Not Taken 34

Notes 36

2 Possible Beginnings 38

Shakespeare and the Queen’s Men’s Theory 39

Tarlton 44

Shakespeare and Alexander Hoghton’s Will 50

Strange’s Men 60

Notes 71

3 Shakespeare on the Record and the Stages of 1594: Newington Butts, the Theatre, Greenwich Palace, and Gray’s Inn 75

Plague 75

Duopoly 77

Shakespeare in the Records 81

Four Playing Places 82

The Theatre 83

Burbage 102

Kemp 103

Motley 105

The Cross Keys Inn 114

Greenwich Palace 117

Gray’s Inn 130

Notes 136

4 The Chamberlain’s / King’s Men and their Organization 140

Sharers 140

Hired Men (and Women) 156

Hired Men as Actors 157

Gatherers 159

Tirewomen 167

Tiremen 169

Musicians 174

Book]keepers 177

Stage]keepers 180

Apprentices 182

Conclusions 188

Notes 188

5 A Stormy Passage, from the Theatre, via the Curtain, to the Globe 193

2 The Seven Deadly Sins 205

The Stories 209

Commentary 213

The Text 213

Authorship and Dating of the Play(s) 213

Those Playhouses … Shall be Plucked Down” 221

Notes 227

6 “The Great Globe Itself” 230

The Galleries 232

Lords’ Rooms 234

Stage Directions 242

Playhouse of the Spoken Word 257

Robert Armin 264

The War of the Theatres 271

Notes 274

7 A New Reign 277

A Royal Master 279

Little Eyases and The Malcontent 281

Notes 288

8 The Blackfriars 290

Your Master’s Worship House, here, in the Friars” 299

The New Repertoire 303

Descent Machinery 305

Jonson and Shakespeare in the New House 309

Notes 319

Appendix: Chamberlain’s/King’s Men’s Plays 1594–1614, Other than by Shakespeare 322

Extant Texts, with Dates of Performance and Publication, and Probable Playhouse of First Performance 322

Anon 323

Non]Extant or Unidentified Plays Associated with the Company 324

Bibliography 325

Primary Material from the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries 325

Secondary Material 329

Index 341