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Chapter 4 - The Third Decade (1578–1588)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 November 2023

Laurie Johnson
Affiliation:
University of Southern Queensland, Australia
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Summary

Chapter 4 covers their final decade, during which the company underwent a series of changes to the core membership following two decades of stability. The company shifted around 1578 from supplementing personnel by hiring boy players to shoring up membership with an apprenticeship system. This enabled them to survive the departure of James Burbage by 1581 and the cull of members to help form the Queen’s Men in 1583. I identify evidence that several of the Queen’s Men not previously attached to any other company were likely members of Leicester’s Men, which also means the cull was greater than has been imagined in the past. A final crisis hit the company when five of their members were sent by Leicester into service in Europe for a year, but I show that Will Kempe’s development of the stage jig was ideally timed to enable the remaining few members to still tour widely with jigs as their primary play stocks. The final section explains reasons to doubt that Richard Burbage or Shakespeare were ever in Leicester’s Men, but did undoubtedly forge ties with this company’s members after Dudley died, ensuring the legacy of this company was carried forward to Shakespeare’s own career.

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Chapter
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Leicester's Men and their Plays
An Early Elizabethan Playing Company and its Legacy
, pp. 164 - 209
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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  • The Third Decade (1578–1588)
  • Laurie Johnson, University of Southern Queensland, Australia
  • Book: Leicester's Men and their Plays
  • Online publication: 08 November 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009366458.006
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  • The Third Decade (1578–1588)
  • Laurie Johnson, University of Southern Queensland, Australia
  • Book: Leicester's Men and their Plays
  • Online publication: 08 November 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009366458.006
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • The Third Decade (1578–1588)
  • Laurie Johnson, University of Southern Queensland, Australia
  • Book: Leicester's Men and their Plays
  • Online publication: 08 November 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009366458.006
Available formats
×