Ruff Play with Shakespeare: a new video series

Wrestling Resurgence, @RobBrazierPhoto This weekend would have seen our first workshop on wrestling, gender and entertainment: see below for more details. We will run our workshop in whenever and whatever the future might turn out to be, but in the meantime, our related project A Bit Lit has begun a new film series on wrestling, … Continue reading Ruff Play with Shakespeare: a new video series

Pass Ye Remote: A Quest for Early Modern Entertainment Through Online Learning Resources

Welcome to Elizabethan England via the digital world! We're lucky to have a range of exciting and innovative online resources at our disposal that make it possible to explore the entertainment and cultural activities of early modern England through our computer screens. This post (in collaboration with Middling Culture) takes the form of "remote quest(ions)" … Continue reading Pass Ye Remote: A Quest for Early Modern Entertainment Through Online Learning Resources

Ruff Play with Shakespeare: combat, gender and entertainment

Wrestling Resurgence, @RobBrazierPhoto To book, please click here. Before Shakespeare and Engendering the Stage are delighted to announce our next performance workshop, focusing on combat as entertainment—in both Shakespeare’s time and today. Combat, acrobatics and feats of strength were everywhere in the early modern period: wrestling happened on the streets, in the countryside and in plays … Continue reading Ruff Play with Shakespeare: combat, gender and entertainment

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