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THE STAGE-HISTORY

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 September 2010

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Summary

The Winter's Tale was much liked in the reigns of the first two Stuart kings. The earliest known mention of it is in the manuscript Booke of Plates of Simon Forman, who saw it at the Globe playhouse on Wednesday, May 15, 1611. On November 5 of that year it was acted at Whitehall before the King. In the spring of 1613 it was one of fourteen plays acted at Whitehall during the festivities celebrating the wedding of the Princess Elizabeth and the Elector Palatine. In 1618 it was acted again before the King on Easter Tuesday. A slip of what may be waste paper from the Office of the Revels, now in the British Museum, suggests a performance at Court in or about 1619. On August 19, 1623, Sir Henry Herbert, Master of the Revels, licensed it for performance (‘an olde playe.…formerly allowed of by Sir George Bucke’); and on January 18, 1624, it was acted at Whitehall before the Duchess of Richmond in the King's absence. Almost exactly ten years later, on January 16, 1634, it was played again at Court, ‘and likt.’ In every case the actors were Shakespeare's company, the King's players, formerly the Lord Chamberlain's.

The stage-histories in the previous volumes of this edition have shown that Shakespeare's comedies for the most part fell out of favour in the Restoration period. The Winter's Tale was even less regarded than most.

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The Winter's Tale
The Cambridge Dover Wilson Shakespeare
, pp. 185 - 194
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2009
First published in: 1931

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