It Was the Summer of ’79, at the Curtain Playhouse

It’s recently proved effective for critics and historians to conjure a thick cultural history by concentrating on one particular year (e.g. 1611; 1606…).  Even the arguably patchier nature of theatre history has lent itself to studies concentrated on a specific date: think, for instance, James Shapiro’s entertaining account of the Globe, 1599. Writing a Year-in-a-Playhouse … Continue reading It Was the Summer of ’79, at the Curtain Playhouse

Christmas, Newyeares tyde: A summary of works done and attendance given, 2018

The Elizabethan Office of the Revels begins an important section of its yearly account books headed "Christmas, Newyeares tyde, & Twelfetyde" with descriptions of "Woorkes doone & Attendaunce geven Abowte the new making, Translating, ffytting, ffurnishing, garnishing, setting owte & Taking in againe, Making cleane & safe bestowing of sundry kyndes of Apparell properties, ffurniture, & … Continue reading Christmas, Newyeares tyde: A summary of works done and attendance given, 2018

Engendering Before Shakespeare: Women and Early English Playhouse Ownership

This post also features on Engendering the Stage, a research project with which we are in dialogue that explores women, gender, and performance in early modern Europe.  Stay tuned for project blog posts from Engendering the Stage in the coming weeks! The crossovers between the research projects Before Shakespeare and Engendering the Stage were raised several … Continue reading Engendering Before Shakespeare: Women and Early English Playhouse Ownership

Resurrecting All Hallows and Reanimating Henry Walton

Callan Davies explores some work-in-progress for a paper at the Shakespeare Association of America conference next spring for the "Tudor Performance: Contexts, Traditions, Afterlives" seminar, convened by Jessica Winston. One of my favourite horror film tropes is when a beleaguered resident of an old house, stricken with fear, rushes to the local library to trawl through … Continue reading Resurrecting All Hallows and Reanimating Henry Walton

The Curtain Rises: Post Match Report

On Saturday 21st, we enjoyed seeing the puffed-up knight Huanebango being struck down by a disembodied voice, entering a sixteenth-century smoking area, meeting the cosmopolitan neighbours of 1580s Shoreditch, and learning how to use a sword and buckler... Here at Before Shakespeare we’ve already hit the bar. Here is a love jug, a fear god … Continue reading The Curtain Rises: Post Match Report

The Before Shakespeare Guide to [The] Theatre Etiquette

[Come and behave (well?) with these tips in mind at our upcoming event on the Curtain playhouse at hackney House on 21 July.] Just as writers in twenty-first century New York have opinions on how other people should behave in theatre spaces, so early modern London has its fair share of advice to spectators.  Whether … Continue reading The Before Shakespeare Guide to [The] Theatre Etiquette

Losing the Plot: Audiences, Scraps of Performance, and Selective Participation

Further to Andy’s post on story, this post asks questions about the nature and necessity of coherent “story”—and of audiences following “plot”—in early modern commercial dramatic performance. It does so by putting literary and archival material into conversation with archaeological discoveries, and as such I'm thankful to Heather Knight of MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology) … Continue reading Losing the Plot: Audiences, Scraps of Performance, and Selective Participation

Performing words #6: matter

what’s the matter? This post follows up some of the points raised by Andy in his discussion of “story” and early modern theatre as part of his Performing Words series. Here, I suggest that the term “matter” might afford a more historically nuanced—and appropriate—vocabulary for thinking about the intersection of “story,” words, and performance. the … Continue reading Performing words #6: matter

The Woman in the Moon: In Conversation with Edward’s Boys

It’s Friday, and we’re hurrying across London Bridge in the rain towards a part-carpeted Methodist Church in London’s Eastcheap: that Elizabethan-sounding nook somewhere loosely between Crutched Friars and Leadenhall (more Tudor echoes). We settle in to observe how woman was first created. Not Genesis 1:27 or 2:22, though. John Lyly’s Pandora. Again, sheltered from the … Continue reading The Woman in the Moon: In Conversation with Edward’s Boys