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The Oxford Handbook of Early Modern Theatre

There was no single 'Elizabethan stage'. Early modern actors exploited various opportunities for patronage and profit between the 1570s and 1642, whether touring, or performing at inns, in country houses, in purpose-built theatres, at court, at the universities, or at the inns of court. This authoritative and comprehensive collection of new essays explores the social, political, and economic pressures under which the playing companies of Shakespeare and his contemporaries operated. It shows how they evolved over time to meet new challenges such as the opposition of City of London authorities, the possibility of permanent location in London, the re-emergence of boy companies c. 1600, and the great increase in court performance which began under James I. Essays also explore the practical everyday business of playing: acquiring scripts and playhouses, dramatic authorship, the contribution of financiers and entrepreneurs, rehearsing, lighting, music, props, styles of acting, boy actors, and the role of women in an 'all-male' world. A number of contributors address the methodologies of theatre history itself, questioning its philosophical premises and evaluating the nature of the evidence we have, such as that from stage directions in play-books or from the visual records. The collection as a whole offers a challenging account of the world of the players in Tudor-Stuart England, revising old assumptions and so inviting us to explore anew the plays which were written for them and which are their greatest living legacy.
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Table of Contents


Introduction: Early Modern Theatre History: where we are now, how we got here, where we go next; SECTION A: THEATRE COMPANIES; 1. Adult Playing Companies to 1583; 2. Adult Playing Companies, 1583 to 1593; 3. Adult Playing Companies, 1593 to 1603; 4. Adult Playing Companies 1603 to 1613; 5. Adult Playing Companies 1613 to 1625; 6. Adult playing companies 1625 to 1642; 7. Early (pre-1590) Boy Companies & their Acting Venues; 8. The boy companies 1599-1613; SECTION B: LONDON PLAYHOUSES; 9. Inn-yard Playhouses; 10. The Theatre in Shoreditch, 1576-1599; 11. Why the Globe is Famous; 12. The Most Convenient Place: The Second Blackfriars Theatre and Its Appeal; 13. The Red Bull Playhouse; 14. The Phoenix and the Cockpit-in-Court Playhouses; SECTION C: OTHER PLAYING SPACES; 15. 'He who pays the piper calls the tune': Household Entertainments; 16. The Universities and the Inns of Court; 17. Touring; 18. Court theatre; 19. London Street Theatre; SECTION D: SOCIAL PRACTICES; 20. Not Just Sir Oliver Owlet: From Patrons to 'Patronage' of Early Modern Theatre; 21. The Court, The Master of the Revels and The Players; 22. Theatre Entrepreneurs and Theatrical Economics; 23. The City of London and the Theatre; 24. Players, Livery Companies, and Apprentices; 25. Materiality and the Market: the case of the Lady Elizabeth's Men. The Lady Elizabeth's Men and the challenge of theatre history; 26. 'For the author's credit': Issues of Authorship in English Renaissance Drama; 27. Women in the Theatre; SECTION E: EVIDENCE OF THEATRICAL PRACTICES; 28. Early Modern Naturalistic Acting: The Role of the Globe in the Development of Personation; 29. Actors' Parts; 30. Stage Directions and the Theatre Historian; 31. Lighting; 32. Music and sound; 33. Properties; 34. Eyewitnesses to History: Visual Evidence for Theatre in Early Modern England; 35. Christopher Beeston, His Property and Properties; Composite Bibliography; Index


a very valuable tool * William Proctor Williams, Notes and Queries * Each of the 36 richly detailed essays beckons to be read... Many among this all-star lineup of distinguished contributors have published book-length studies on their respective academic specializations... Collectively, the essays accrue, building a comprehensive and coherent profile of the world of early modern theater * P.D. Nelsen, CHOICE *

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