Adult Playing Companies 1613–1625

James J. Marino

in The Oxford Handbook of Early Modern Theatre

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199697861
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 Adult Playing Companies 1613–1625

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On June 29, 1613, at the first performance of William Shakespeare and John Fletcher's All Is True, the Globe playhouse burned to the ground. The destruction of this iconic theatre might be imagined as a conveniently catastrophic mark for the end of an era. But the conflagration led to nothing more than a piece of colorful London news and a substantial expense for the actors who owned the Globe; none of the audience was hurt, and nothing fundamental about the Jacobean theater changed. The Globe was promptly rebuilt, and improved, while the King's Men continued performing in their Blackfriars venue. The King's Men's consolidation of its dominance limited the prospects for the other adult playing companies, and oddly diminished the general level of competition between the London playhouses. This article traces the history of adult playing companies in England for the period 1613–1625. It looks at playhouse repertories, the causal relationship between the decline and the loss of patronage, boy companies, clowning on the Jacobean stage, and the decline of Palatine's Men and Queen Anne's Men.

Keywords: England; adult playing companies; theatre; William Shakespeare; John Fletcher; Globe playhouse; repertories; patronage; boy companies; clowning

Article.  8424 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800) ; Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights)

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