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“The Theatre in Shoreditch, 1576-1599”

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.102  Wednesday, 4 March 2015


From:        Hardy Cook < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         March 1, 2015 at 12:58:39 PM EST

Subject:    “The Theatre in Shoreditch, 1576-1599”


[Editor’s Note: Over this past weekend another web site of interest was mentioned: Gabriel Egan’s Publications with a link to Professor Egan’s article “The Theatre in Shoreditch, 1576-1599”. Interesting and informative. –Hardy]


“The Theatre in Shoreditch, 1576-1599” by Gabriel Egan


    The evidence


    For 37 years the wood and plaster structure of the first permanent playhouse built in England since the Romans left in the fifth century BCE stood for all to see, to celebrate, or to argue over. Then, as suddenly and surprisingly as it came, the building disappeared. This is a perpetual hazard of theatre history: a picture is identified by a scholar as showing a subject of interest, say a venue, a person, or a play being performed, and is pored over by other scholars hoping to wring every drop of information from it, and then it is snatched away by a fresh identification of its subject as something or someone less interesting than was previously thought. Thus is it with the engraving variously known as The View of the Cittye of London from the North towards the Sowth (the title written on it) or the Utrecht engraving (from the university library in which it was found in the 1950s) or the Abram Booth picture (from the name of the man who owned it).


    In 1964 Sidney Fisher identified the playhouse in the engraving as The Theatre in Shoreditch, thereby overturning the identification of the playhouse as The Curtain that was made by the modern finder of the picture 10 years earlier, Leslie Hotson (Fisher 1964, 2-6; Hotson 1954). Fisher’s identification of The Theatre stood for 37 years until itself overturned by Herbert Berry’s proof that Leslie Hotson was right, it really is The Curtain (Berry 2000). By the sort of coincidence that theatre historians learn to treat as nothing more that a rhetorical opportunity in the shaping of their narratives, the physical playhouse frame itself also stood for 37 years, being erected in the summer of 1576 and named The Theatre, then dismantled and reassembled on a new site in 1598-99 and renamed The Globe, and finally consumed by fire during a performance in the summer of 1613.


    As things currently stand, then, there is no extant picture of The Theatre and all that we know must be derived from writings. In this respect were are lucky, for none of the playhouses discussed in this Handbook left as copious a documentary record as The Theatre because it was the subject of a series of legal battles from the 1570s to the early 1600s for which were prepared dozens of witness statements that recall its construction, ownership, financing, daily operations, and occupancy. First discovered in the mid-nineteenth century, the documents from the lawsuits were systematically transcribed and interpreted in the early-twentieth century (Stopes 1913; Wallace 1913) but they will here be cited, where possible, from the most recent documentary collection, which has the merit of correcting errors in the earlier books and of modernizing the spelling (Wickham, Berry & Ingram 2000).


    These records can be supplemented by biographical researches (including such things as records of birth, apprenticeship, marriage, and death) of the central figures involved in The Theatre project, and the best finding aid to locate those researches is David Kathman's Biographical Index to the Elizabethan Theater (Kathman 2001-). With Kathman's help, I can report that for James Burbage (who, together with his brother-in-law John Brayne, initiated the project) the essential references are Stopes 1913, Chambers 1923, Nungezer 1929, Ingram 1988, Eccles 1991, Honigmann & Brock 1993, Edmond 1996, and Ingram 1992. For John Brayne the essential references are Loengard 1983, Ingram 1992, Honigmann & Brock 1993, and Edmond 1996. For Peter Street (who took down The Theatre and re-erected it as The Globe) the essential references are Ingram 1992 and Edmond 1993. These are the sources on which the present narrative is based, supplemented by pre-publication access to the results of archaeological researches on the site of The Theatre kindly supplied by Julian M. C. Bowsher, Senior Archaeologist at the Museum of London Archaeology Service.




    One of the two partners in The Theatre, the grocer John Brayne, built a kind of prototype playhouse in 1576 called The Red Lion. Only one fact was known about the Red Lion project until the 1980s: that the Carpenters’ Company books record Brayne’s dissatisfaction with “such scaffolds” made by a William Sylvester “at the house called the Red Lyon” and that the company had reached a settlement in the case. Once the company inspectors had perused the work and ordered such improvements as they saw fit, and Sylvester had completed them, thereby enabling “the play which is called The Story of Samson” to be given a performance there, Brayne would pay Sylvester for the work (Wickham, Berry & Ingram 2000, 291). E. K. Chambers guessed that this Red Lion was an inn, and recorded it alongside the records for the other inns at which playing took place: The Bull Inn, The Bell Inn, The Bel Savage Inn, and The Cross Keys Inn (Chambers 1923, 2: 379-380). Chambers noticed that Brayne was later involved in The Theatre with his wife’s sister’s husband, James Burbage, but—presumably allowing the paucity of evidence about The Red Lion to condition his estimation of the relative values of the projects—he called The Theatre a “far more important enterprise”.


[ . . . ]

Literature and Theology Table of Contents for March 1, 2015; Vol. 29, No. 1

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.101  Wednesday, 4 March 2015


From:        Frank Whigham < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         March 4, 2015 at 8:14:28 AM EST

Subject:    Literature and Theology Table of Contents for March 1, 2015; Vol. 29, No. 1


Literature and Theology Table of Contents Alert Vol. 29, No. 1 March 2015






 Shakespeare’s Gods

 Daryl Kaytor

 Literature and Theology 2015 29: 3-17



Book Reviews



 Comedy and Feminist Interpretation of the Hebrew Bible, A Subversive

 Collaboration. By Melissa A. Jackson.

 Hannah Strømmen

 Literature and Theology 2015 29: 104-105


 Magic and Religion in Medieval England. By Catherine Rider.

 Brian Murdoch

 Literature and Theology 2015 29: 106-108


 Vita Latina Adae et Evae. Edited by Jean-Pierre Pettorelli, completed by

 Jean-Daniel Kaestli. Synopsis Vitae Adae et Evae. Edited by Albert Frey,

 Jean-Daniel Kaestli, Bernard Outtier and Jean-Pierre Pettorelli.

 Brian Murdoch

 Literature and Theology 2015 29: 108-110


 Francis Bacon: Painting in a Godless World. By Rina Arya.

 David Jasper

 Literature and Theology 2015 29: 110-111

Book Announcement: Shakespeare Valued

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.100  Wednesday, 4 March 2015


From:        Jessica Pennock < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         March 4, 2015 at 4:16:51 AM EST

Subject:    Shakespeare Valued


Intellect would like to announce Shakespeare Valued: Education Policy and Pedagogy 1989-2009, this new title is now available for pre-order.


Taking a comprehensive, critical, and theoretical approach to the role of Shakespeare in educational policy and pedagogy from 1989 (the year compulsory Shakespeare was introduced under the National Curriculum for English in the United Kingdom), to the present, Shakespeare Valued explores the esteem afforded Shakespeare in the British educational system and its evolution in the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. Sarah Olive offers an unparalleled analysis of the ways in which Shakespeare is valued in a range of educational domains in England, and will be essential reading for students and teachers of English and Shakespeare.


Sarah Olive is a lecturer in English in education at the University of York.


Find out more or pre-order on our website,id=5140/


Best wishes,

Jessica Pennock | Marketing Executive

A: Intellect, The Mill, Parnall Rd, Fishponds, Bristol BS16 3JG, UK

E: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


T: +44 (0) 117 958 9916

CFP: Blackfriars Conference

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.099  Wednesday, 4 March 2015


From:        Sarah Enloe < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         Monday, March 2, 2015 at 2:00 PM

Subject:    CFP: Blackfriars Conference 


On odd numbered years since the first October the Blackfriars Playhouse opened, scholars from around the world have gathered in Staunton, during the height of the Shenandoah Valley’s Fall colors, to hear lectures, see plays, and explore early modern theatre. In 2015, the American Shakespeare Center’s Education and Research Department will once again host Shakespeareans, scholars and practitioners, to share ideas about Shakespeare in the study and Shakespeare on the stage and to find ways that these two worlds – sometime in collision – can collaborate.


The majority of events – papers, plays, workshops – take place in the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre, the Blackfriars Playhouse. This conference distinguishes itself from saner conferences in a variety of other ways. First, to model the kind of collaboration we think possible we encourage presenters to feature actors as partners in the demonstration of their theses. For instance, in 2009, Gary Taylor’s keynote presentation “Lyrical Middleton” featured ASC actors singing and dancing to the songs in Middleton’s plays. Second, we limit each paper session to six short papers (10 minutes for solo presentations, 13 minutes for presentations with actors). Third, we enforce this rule by ursine fiat – a bear chases from the stage those speakers who go over their allotted time.  


Delegates also attend all of the plays in the ASC 2015 Fall Season – Antony & Cleopatra, The Winter’s Tale, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Henry VI, Part I – and, for the past several conferences, bonus plays written by Shakespearean colleagues and performed by actors in the Mary Baldwin College MFA in Shakespeare in Performance program. The spirit of fun that imbues the conference manifests itself in the annual Truancy Award, for the sensible conferee who – visiting the Shenandoah Valley at the height of Fall – has the good sense to miss the most sessions.


The 2015 gathering will honor Barbara Mowat and will include keynote addresses from Gina Bloom,Tim Carroll, and Ayanna Thompson.


ASC Education and Research extends this call for papers on any matters to do with the performance of early modern drama (historical, architectural, political, dramatical, sartorial, medical, linguistical, comical, pastoral) to all interested parties for our biennial conference to be held at the Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Virginia, 28 October - 1 November 2015. 


As in past years, participants may submit an abstract for consideration in one of 11 plenary sessions, each of which features only 6-7 papers. The deadline to submit an abstract for consideration in the plenary sessions is 10 April 2015 (notification and announcement by 4 May). Our colloquies will be different in 2015 than at past conferences, as we wish for proposals to lead these sessions (deadline 10 April). We will post the 11 selected topics by May 4th, and those who wish to register to participate in a session will be able to do so after notifications regarding plenary selections go out.Registration for participation in colloquies and workshops will end 1 June. Participation in a colloquy session will be mutually exclusive from presenting in a plenary session.


Submit an Abstract or a Colloquy Proposal for consideration; Deadline: 10 April 2015. Conference registration is also now open.


For more information, please email Sarah Enloe, Director of Education, at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


All best,

Sarah Enloe

American Shakespeare Center

Director of Education

540-885-5588 x28


The American Shakespeare Center recovers the joy and accessibility of Shakespeare’s theatre, language, and humanity by exploring the English Renaissance stage and its practices through performance and education.

Shylock and the Greek Debt Crisis

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.098  Monday, 2 March 2015


From:        Lawrence Weiss < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         February 27, 2015 at 1:02:47 PM EST

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Shylock/Greece


Marianne Kimura approves of the revolution occurring in Greece—can we call it anything else? – because, as she candidly acknowledges, it is nothing short of pure Marxism:


First, Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek finance minister, has termed Karl Mark the thinker “responsible for framing my perspective of the world we live in, from my childhood to this day.”


In evaluating the wisdom of turning Greece into the third actual Marxist state still alive (the other two being Cuba and Laos) it would be well to consider the remarkable success those countries have achieved.


And in evaluating Ms. Kimura’s political and economic acumen, it is not amiss to also consider her literary insights, as evidenced, for example, by this:


The very first line of “Romeo and Juliet” is “Gregory, on my word, we’ll not carry coals” (I.1.i)—and this could be read as a coded statement very similar to Sheikh Yamani’s prediction: fossil fuels will simply become uneconomic to produce eventually. 

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