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

Before Shakespeare at The National Archives (The Theatre)

This post also appears on The National Archives blog. BOOK FOR OUR TALK AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES, 1 AUGUST, HERE Tucked away somewhere in the temperature-controlled archival store rooms of The National Archives is an equity suit in the Court of Exchequer that records a series of trespass complaints.  This suit seems unremarkable, if a little complex: … Continue reading Before Shakespeare at The National Archives (The Theatre)

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

Banishment as a Romance Convention in Early English Drama (c. 1581-1591)

We're very pleased to host this guest post from Alexander Thom exploring the trope of banishment in early commercial drama. *** Regarding Shakespeare, James Joyce once wrote, “the note of banishment, banishment from the heart, banishment from home, sounds uninterruptedly”.[1] Certainly, Shakespeare’s plays are littered with conspicuous instances of banishment and a number of his … Continue reading Banishment as a Romance Convention in Early English Drama (c. 1581-1591)

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

“Specially youthe”: Regulating London “Venues”

Social media has reacted with frustration and resentment at the news this week that one of London’s most famous nightclubs, Fabric, has had its licence revoked (#fabricreview). While I will avoid being overtly political, here, the closure of the nightclub inevitably prompts questions over responsibility for regulating such venues, the legitimacy of closing a popular … Continue reading “Specially youthe”: Regulating London “Venues”

Early Thoughts on the Archives

…and now for something completely different. After last week’s performance workshops, this post moves us from the rehearsal space back to the library; I have been revisiting archival documents associated with the rise of the commercial playhouses and getting a clearer sense of the context that surrounds extant references, restrictions, and correspondence about playing. The … Continue reading Early Thoughts on the Archives