The Later Paul’s Boys, 1599–1606
When the Paul’s Boys were brought back to life in 1599, London playing had been transformed. Regulation of playing was much tighter and quite different from the situation in 1590. First, the Privy Council had finally acceded to the mayor’s insistence on banning plays from inside the city. Secondly, it had approved two playing companies as the only purveyors of royal entertainment in the Christmas season. In addition, the Master of the Revels had backed up the Privy Council policy by tightening his own control, now licensing playhouses as well as performances for public use. The renewed boy companies, and especially Paul’s as the first to resurface, offered a challenge to all of these new policies. They had a playhouse in the heart of the city; they threatened to make a not insignificant addition to the number of approved companies; and they would perform in it as a ‘private’ hall, with the implied freedom this gave them from the Master’s control of ‘public’ performances and public playhouses. This chapter looks at the history of the later Paul’s Boys, their performances between 1599 and 1606, the plays they performed and the playhouses where they performed.
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