The Business of Playing: The Beginnings of the Adult Professional Theater in Elizabethan London
Possessing only quasi-amateur standing in the early 1500s, London's adult professional theater troupes became the basis for an enterprise that by the end of the century was to provide livelihoods for many stage players and businessmen and their families. William Ingram here reconstructs the economic and social history of this remarkable growth through the eyes of the participants themselves - actors, managers, and entrepreneurs, including such important figures as Jerome Savage, John Brayne, Henry Laneman, and James Burbage.
Ingram examines the wider context of the development of the business of playing during the Elizabethan period - a time of foreign wars and political intrigue, of spiraling inflation and civic unrest, of entrepreneurship and piety. He explores the theatrical situation in London from the end of the reign of Henry VIII in the middle years of the sixteenth century and considers the implications of the building of the Red Lion stage in 1567. He covers in unprecedented detail the circumstances that led in 1576 to the construction of the first three London playhouses - the Theater, the Curtain, and the playhouse at Newington Butts in Surrey.
Based on a wealth of primary research, The Business of Playing will be essential reading for theater historians and others interested in the literature and the social and cultural history of the English Renaissance.
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