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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: June ::
Re: Shakespeare as Sharer
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1171  Wednesday, 7 June 2000.

[1]     From:   Dave Kathman <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 06 Jun 2000 11:04:03 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1168 Shakespeare as Sharer

[2]     From:   Melissa D. Aaron <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 06 Jun 2000 09:39:51 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1168 Shakespeare as Sharer


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dave Kathman <
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Date:           Tuesday, 06 Jun 2000 11:04:03 -0400
Subject: 11.1168 Shakespeare as Sharer
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1168 Shakespeare as Sharer

John Briggs wrote:

>> Sam Small wrote:
>>
>> Well, actually Shakespeare himself was a serious money maker.  He
>> owned
>> 10% of the Globe Theatre in London and a very large estate in
>> Stratford.
>
>On a point of accuracy: in the new book by Andrew Gurr & Mariko
>Ichikawa, "Staging in Shakespeare's Theatres" (Oxford University Press,
>2000) ISBN 0 19 871159 X or 0 19 871158 1 (pbk) (Oxford Shakespeare
>Topics, General Editors: Peter Holland & Stanley Wells), I find on
>p.33:
>
>"That is how Shakespeare as an actor and sharer in his company came to
>own 12.5 per cent of the Globe, and later a similar share in the
Blackfriars."
>
>Which is correct?  Were there eight or ten shares in the Globe?  (Use of
>"per cent" is somewhat anachronistic!)  And what does "similar" mean
anyway?

The number of shares in the Globe, and thus Shakespeare's percentage of
the whole, varied over the years as new sharers came in and old ones
dropped out.  The initial contract of 21 February 1599 called for
Richard and Cuthbert Burbage to own half of the theater, and for a group
of five other sharers (Shakespeare, John Heminges, Thomas Pope,
Augustine Phillips, and Will Kemp) to own the other half.  Shakespeare
thus owned 1/10th, or 10%.  Kemp left before the year was out, and I
think his share was just distributed evenly among the others, so at that
point Shakespeare's share would have been 1/8th.  Pope died in late
1603, and I believe he bequeathed his share to some friends of his.  (I
don't have the appropriate reference books handy.)  Phillips died in
1605 and left his share to his wife, with the provision that she would
forfeit it if she remarried.  She shortly married a ne'er-do-well named
John Witter, who sued (ultimately unsuccessfully) to get the share which
had been forfeited.  I'm not sure what happened to it; I think the
Burbages may have taken it back.  But other new sharers were being
brought in, including Henry Condell between 1605 and 1608, so that
Shakespeare's share was less than 1/10th by 1608.

Dave Kathman

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[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Melissa D. Aaron <
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 >
Date:           Tuesday, 06 Jun 2000 09:39:51 -0700
Subject: 11.1168 Shakespeare as Sharer
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1168 Shakespeare as Sharer

>> Well, actually Shakespeare himself was a serious money maker.  He
>> owned
>> 10% of the Globe Theatre in London and a very large estate in
>> Stratford.
>
>On a point of accuracy: in the new book by Andrew Gurr & Mariko
>Ichikawa, "Staging in Shakespeare's Theatres" (Oxford University Press,
>2000) ISBN 0 19 871159 X or 0 19 871158 1 (pbk) (Oxford Shakespeare
>Topics, General Editors: Peter Holland & Stanley Wells), I find on p.33:
>
>"That is how Shakespeare as an actor and sharer in his company came to
>own 12.5 per cent of the Globe, and later a similar share in the
>Blackfriars."
>
>Which is correct?  Were there eight or ten shares in the Globe?  (Use of
>"per cent" is somewhat anachronistic!)  And what does "similar" mean
>anyway?

Ah, so glad you asked.

Both Gurr and Small are technically correct.  When the lease on the
Globe was signed on February 21 1599, Cuthbert and Richard Burbage held
50% of the total shares (25% or 1/4 each) and the remaining five shares
of 50% were owned by Pope, Shakespeare, Heminges, Phillips and Kempe
(10% each).  Kempe, however, almost immediately sold his share to the
other four; so instead of owning a one-tenth share, they owned a
one-eighth share (or 12.5 percent).  Similar in this case means the
same, because when the company was permitted to begin use of the
Blackfriars and the shares were sold, Shakespeare acquired a one-eighth
share of that, too.

I don't see anything wrong with using percentages, though I prefer to
give both the percentages and the actual numbers; together, the
calculations then become easier to follow.  Also, I like using the term
"Housekeepers" for those who owned a share in the theater, as opposed to
Sharers, who owned a share in the company.  That sort of distinction
becomes critical when disussing the "Sharers Papers" of 1635.

With any luck all these details will be coming out in book form someday,
as I've got an economic history of the King's Men in MS.

Melissa Aaron
 

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