Birthday Post: A Year of Before Shakespeare

We launched our website last year, on the date of Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary, with an introduction to the project and something of a provocation in Andy’s post about putting the Shhhh into Shakespeare.... The comments that followed have been matched by recent posts that have engendered debate and discussion amongst readers, including the creation by … Continue reading Birthday Post: A Year of Before Shakespeare

Announcing the Launch of REED Online

Research for Before Shakespeare (as any project interested in theatre and performance history) sits on the advances made through major projects over the past decades, particularly by the Records of Early English Drama (REED) project based at the University of Toronto.  REED has provided theatre historians with an invaluable resource in its collections of performance documents and records from … Continue reading Announcing the Launch of REED Online

Shakespeare, attribution and attrition: at tribute zone

At the 2017 Shakespeare Association of America, Marissa Nicosia and Curtis Perry ran a session on Shakespearean Distortions, asking what is lost from our understanding of the early modern period by Shakespeare's domination of the research agenda. This strikes me as the most urgent question in current scholarship, and one that rarely gets asked, and … Continue reading Shakespeare, attribution and attrition: at tribute zone

Post from the Past 2: A Week in the Life of William Fleetwood

Fleetwood to Burghley, 1584. William Fleetwood was a significant figure in Elizabethan London.  He studied in early life at Eton and Oxford before attending the Middle Temple and being called to the bar there in 1551.  He was a freeman of the Merchant Taylors (1557), a long-serving MP (for London in 1572, 1584, 1586, and 1589), and an experienced … Continue reading Post from the Past 2: A Week in the Life of William Fleetwood

Post from the Past 1: Spying the Playhouses

Catlyn to Walsingham, 1587 This post is the first in a series that will share our work in the archive, including photographed images, transcriptions, and a brief discussion of some of the archival material we have been surveying.  While many libraries are strict on what can and cannot be shared online--particularly with photographs--the British Library permits controlled and … Continue reading Post from the Past 1: Spying the Playhouses

Shakespeare: A knack for following theatrical fashion

Venice. Two faithful friends are pitted against a vengeful moneylender who is out for blood. In a climactic trial scene they proclaim their willingness to die for each other; the moneylender’s revenge rebounds against him when a woman outwits him, and in a further twist of the knife his daughter ends up married to a … Continue reading Shakespeare: A knack for following theatrical fashion

The Three Ladies of London and Red Lion workshop, 22 January 2017

Our first workshop with The Dolphin's Back took place yesterday (22 January 2017), exploring the earliest surviving play from English commercial theatre on the site of the earliest purpose-built commercial playhouse. Exactly 450 years after John Brayne sought to "frame, make, or build and set up . . . within the court or yard lying on … Continue reading The Three Ladies of London and Red Lion workshop, 22 January 2017

“Rent must be paid, duties dischargd”: A Note on Elizabethan Landlords

While estate agents and others expressed disapproval, others will have welcomed this morning's leaked announcement from the Chancellor's Autumn Statement about announcing a crackdown on letting fees: those administration costs, credit checks, and general charges levied in the process of agreeing a tenancy. Whatever one's opinion on the wisdom of this ban, the various and sometimes questionable costs levied on … Continue reading “Rent must be paid, duties dischargd”: A Note on Elizabethan Landlords