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date: 05 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article focuses on a character from theatre history — Christopher Beeston — an actor who once belonged to William Shakespeare's company but who later both joined and, most importantly, formed and managed other playing companies. Beeston also leased, converted, and ran a particular theatre that these companies performed in — the Cockpit off Drury Lane — from around 1616 to his death in 1638. This article also comments on a famous court case which has given evidence about actors and their company troubles in the previous decade. The company in question was the Servants of Queen Anna of Denmark, a parallel company to Shakespeare's Servants of King James, and the theatre the Queen's servants performed in was the Red Bull playhouse in Clerkenwell. Beeston took a central role in both this company and its playhouse. He was also a central concern in a court case known as the Worth v. Baskervile case of 1623, filed by the actor Ellis Worth against Susan Greene, a widow of the actor, clown, and manager of the Queen's servants' company who was called Thomas Greene.

Keywords: Christopher Beeston, theatre history, playing companies, theatre, court case, actors, Cockpit, Servants of Queen Anna, Ellis Worth, Susan Greene

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