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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: February ::
Non-Shakespearian Drama Database
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0467  Monday, 18 February 2002

From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Monday, 18 Feb 2002 10:52:30 -0000
Subject:        Non-Shakespearian Drama Database


In 1567 John Brayne (James Burbage's brother-in-law, and later partner
in The Theatre) constructed a playhouse in the garden of the Red Lion
farm in Stepney. It was the first-purpose built theatre in England since
the Romans left 1000 years before. The galleries were a single storey
and the stage was 40 feet by 30 feet by 5 feet high with an attached
turret--the purpose of which is unclear--reaching some 30 feet above the
ground. In 1576 Burbage and Brayne built the more substantial Theatre,
which became the Globe when removed to Bankside in 1598-99. On 2
September 1642 parliament closed the theatres. By G. E. Bentley's
reckoning, between these terminal dates 1567 and 1642 about 2000 plays
were written for the professional London stages,
of which about 750 plays are unknown even by name. Of the remaining 1250
plays whose names we know, the scripts of a further 750 have not come
down to us, so that just 500 plays (one-quarter of what was written)
survive, including about 38 by Shakespeare which are well known.

The non-Shakespearian Drama Database

At the website is version 1.0 of a live database
table listing 589 plays, which was arrived at by starting with the 711
items which the Chadwyck-Healey Literature Online database records as
'drama' first performed between 1567 and 1642 and then manually removing
those which are obviously non-professional, masques, entertertainments,
etc. At the time of writing (February 2002) these data remain almost
entirely unprocessed and there is much pruning to be done. Improvement
of these data is underway, an as well as pruning there will be
additions. Further columns will be added to record the known or likely
venues of performance of the plays and to link to additional resources
such as suppliers of paper-based editions in print and electronic texts
of out-of-print plays. Users are invited to browse the table and to send
suggestions and queries about this website to me at 
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Gabriel Egan

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