Court Theatre

John H. Astington

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

 Court Theatre

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Since the reign of Queen Elizabeth's father, Henry VIII, Whitehall, next to the older medieval palace of Westminster, had become the chief royal seat. William Shakespeare and his fellow actors were licensed to perform as servants of Queen Elizabeth's lord chamberlains, Henry Carey, Lord Hunsdon (until 1596), and George Carey, his son (from 1597). The patronage of the court in and around the London area had a good deal to do with the growth of the professional theatre in the metropolis during the sixteenth century. Actors in the 1590s might have considered performing in their playhouses in the afternoon of the same day, at the time they habitually did for the paying public, perhaps giving a further runthrough of the piece they were to present before the court at night. Actors and playwrights contributed their work to the splendour of the court, and the entertainment they offered, paid for out of the royal purse, formed part of the magnificent hospitality the kings and queens of England provided for their entourage and guests.

Keywords: Queen Elizabeth; court; William Shakespeare; England; entertainment; Henry VIII; Whitehall; patronage; professional theatre; playhouses

Article.  8261 words. 

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

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