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Further Adventures in 1583

2012 August 26
by Diane Jakacki

This morning I tweaked the map of 1583 touring dates, soft-peddling look (no more garish push pins) and adding fields for long-term (partial- and full-year) performance contracts. In the process some things have become more clear while others have puzzled me further.


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Five full-year contracts are identified in Patrons and Performances:

  • Hythe (2/2/1583-2/2/1584)
  • Bath (6/6/1583-6/15/1584)
  • Lydd (7/22/1583-7/22/1584)
  • Marlborough (11/15/1583-11/15/1584)
  • Saffron Walden (12/01/1583-12/01/1584)

On the map I’ve identified this as a shaded area in opaque red.

There are two further partial-year contracts:

    • Dover (4/5/1583-9/8/1583
    • Gloucester (5/26-9/28/1583)[nbnote ]This end date is cited in Patrons and Performances, but is not – as far as I can tell – reflected in the REED Cumberland/Westmoreland/Gloucestershire volume [/nbnote]

Three more places are indicated in The Queen’s Men and Their Plays[nbnote ]See Appendix A[/nbnote] as having undated 1583 contracts:

  • Canterbury
  • Ipswich
  • Shrewsbury

On the map I’ve identified this as a shaded area in opaque yellow.

I shaded the areas in an effort to determine whether long-term contracts might cover a particular area. The area might reinforce the idea of a propensity for Kent performance spaces, but otherwise the tour dates identified in the last post are almost all outside this area. The year-long contracts are all reasonable travelling distrances from London. The two farthest points: Lydd, Kent (~ 60 mi.) and Bath, Somerset (~100 mi.) are close to eastern and western touring routes, although this proximity does not necessarily reflect time of year.[nbnote ]The beginning date for Lydd is a month before the Faversham performance date, and the beginning date for Rye occurs in the midst of several of the western performance dates. Otherwise, the areas represent more of a canvas than any specific support for particular touring practice.[/nbnote] Here is where the mud gets thicker: one might argue that the Marlborough and Bath contracts could act as ongoing revenue sources for the West Midlands tour (5/26-9/2) but the Marlborough contract does not begin until November of 1583. The Shrewsbury reference might suggest a (somewhat out of the way) stop between Gloucester and Leicester, but in-depth review of the REED Shropshire volume is required if this suggestion is to hold merit. The Bath contract could indicate a regional base for the Gloucester, Abingdon, and Bristol appearances,

The long-term contract area doesn’t reveal anything about the June touring dates in Norwich, since the closest point (Saffron Walden) doesn’t commence until December. It does, however, support the Kent dates – Lydd commences 7/22, a month before Faversham and two months before Rye.

In the process of looking at these I’ve been digging into the REED volumes (via The Internet Archives) but those observations will have to wait for the next post.

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