The First London Companies
The attraction of playing in London was by far the strongest influence on the playing companies, and the strongest factor determining their development between 1574 and 1642. No other place had the resource in population, let alone wealth, to let players offer their plays there on a regular daily basis. Playgoing as a distinctive, though relatively expensive, form of public entertainment was popular at all levels of society in Tudor England. Fixing the main playing-places in London, a process that started in the 1560s and became firm when the first custom-built playhouses appeared in the suburbs in the 1570s, was the key that unlocked many doors for the companies. The other giant factor that affected playing was the creation of the Queen’s Men in 1583. When the city opposed playgoing, the players built their theatres in the suburbs, outside the Lord Mayor’s jurisdiction. Very little direct evidence survives about the attitudes of patrons to their companies. A substantial part of this question about the possible relations between patrons and their companies belongs as much to religion as to politics.
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