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date: 21 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Using evidence largely drawn from the Records of Early English Drama (REED) Patrons and Performances website, this article presents an account of the lives and activities of particular patrons of early modern theatre and the effects of the patronage system upon the quotidian lives of professional actors under patronage in England. Many prominent patrons (all men, except for a few queens and princesses) were involved in important playing companies and London playhouses which have been, for many years, considered to be the pinnacles of early modern theatre. One such patron was Henry Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, Lord President of the Council in the Marches of Wales (1538–1601), who had a company of players that entered what E. K. Chambers has termed the ‘charmed London circle’ because of two court performances, on December 26, 1592 and July 6, 1593. Other patrons during the period include Henry Fortescue, Katherine Willoughby, James Fitzjames, Thomas Howard, Henry Compton, Edmund Sheffield, and James Stanley.

Keywords: Records of Early English Drama, patrons, patronage, theatre, England, playing companies, playhouses, Henry Herbert, charmed London circle, performances

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