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Shakespeare in Company$
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Bart van Es

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199569311

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199569311.001.0001

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The events of 1594

The events of 1594

(p.99) 5 The events of 1594
Shakespeare in Company

Bart van Es

Oxford University Press

Following on from the claim that there is a decisive shift in Shakespeare dramaturgy in the year 1594, this chapter examines the material conditions that made this shift possible. It gives an account of the formation of the Chamberlain’s Men and briefly describes the founding members of this acting company, which was unique in admitting a literary playwright amongst its sharers. The concept of ‘shareholding’ in acting companies is described and analysed, as is the change in the conditions of the theatrical marketplace in 1594, including the establishment of the so-called ‘duopoly’ of companies. Shakespeare’s company is compared and contrasted with others, such as the Lord Admiral’s Men and the Earl of Pembroke’s, and an analysis is made of its financial strength. The chapter sets out the new control and ownership that Shakespeare gained over his playtexts, a development that bore financial as well as artistic fruit.

Keywords:   acting company, shareholding, marketplace, duopoly, Chamberlain’s men, Pembroke’s men, Admiral’s men, financial

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