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The Shakespeare Company, 1594–1642
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  • 25 b/w illus. 2 maps 7 tables
  • Page extent: 356 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.65 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 792/.09421
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: PR3095 .G86 2004
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Shakespeare, William,--1564-1616--Stage history--To 1625
    • Shakespeare, William,--1564-1616--Stage history--1625-1800
    • Shakespeare, William,--1564-1616--Relations with actors
    • Theatrical companies--England--London--History--17th century
    • Theatrical companies--England--London--History--16th century

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521807302 | ISBN-10: 0521807301)

This is the first complete history of the theatre company, created in 1594, which in 1603 became the King's Men. Shakespeare was at the heart of the team of players, who with their successors ran an operation that lasted until the theatres closed in 1642. During those forty-eight years they staged all of Shakespeare's plays, a number of Ben Jonson's, those of Thomas Middleton and John Webster, and almost all of the Beaumont and Fletcher canon. Andrew Gurr provides a comprehensive history of the company's activities. A chapter on their finances explains the unique management system they adopted and two chapters study the fashions in their repertory and the complex relationships with their royal patrons. The 6 appendixes identify the 99 players who worked in the company and the 168 plays they are known to have owned and performed, as well as the key documents from the company's history.

• This important reference work is full of fresh information and is essential for every serious scholar of theatre history • The appendices provide an assembly of information about the players, plays and all their known performances and quotes from many vital documents, some not seen before • Illustrations include pictures of the many places where the company is known to have performed


Preface; 1. The plan of 1594; 2. The company's work; 3. 'Will money buy 'em?': company finances; 4. 'Workes are playes': the public repertory; 5. Royal loyalties; 6. The afterlife; Appendix 1. The players; Appendix 2. Documents about the company; Appendix 3. The sharers' papers; Appendix 4. The repertory; Appendix 5. Surviving play-texts; Appendix 6. Court performances; Bibliography; Index.


'Andrew Gurr's The Shakespeare Company, 1594–1642 fills an enormous gap … an important reference work, and a book necessary for every serious scholar of theatre history, Shakespeare and Shakespeare's milieu.' Around the Globe

'... comprehensive ... Andrew Gurr has written a definitive and most appealing work, which frequently glitters with the author's own love of theater and its members.' Renaissance Quarterly

'An eminent scholar, Gurr brings both a refined (and colossal) body of research and sage insight into this magnificent achievement. He offers a richly detailed, pleasantly readable case study ... Essential.' P. D. Nelson, Choice

'Gurr doesn't explicitly say that the 'company versions' are better than that habitual overwriter Shakespeare's maximal versions. But the stakes in the argument are high – our vision of what we value most in Shakespeare, why we value it, and the notion of value itself. And so, in addition to being grateful to Gurr for the wealth of historical detail of Shakespeare's company, we are in debt to him for provoking anew this important argument.' The Wilson Quarterly

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