Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 13 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Apprenticeship was a key feature of early modern playing companies, yet it is easily misunderstood by modern observers. The development of apprenticeship in Elizabethan England paralleled the development of trade guilds, more properly known in London as livery companies. Male apprentices were important because they played all the female roles on the professional English stage before 1660, but the institution also served as a training ground, with many (perhaps most) theatrical apprentices going on to become adult players. In this sense, theatrical apprenticeship was much like apprenticeship in more traditional trades, and the similarities became more notable as the professional theatre became more stable and structured. In fact, many professional players were members (or freemen) of the livery companies that collectively oversaw most of the trades in London, and theatrical apprentices were often formally bound as goldsmiths, grocers, drapers, or some other trade, even when all their training was on the professional stage.

Keywords: England, apprenticeship, apprentices, livery companies, players, playing companies, trade guilds, training, theatre

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.