Which playing company was the first to perform on the Rose’s stage for a public audience? The diary of Phillip Henslowe tells us so much about the professional operations of
Which playing company was the first to perform on the Rose’s stage for a public audience? The diary of Phillip Henslowe tells us so much about the professional operations of the Rose from 1591 onwards, but how can we fill in the gaps in our knowledge about the years between 1587 when the playhouse was built and when he began his diary? By explaining how to answer this question, this talk will reveal newfound links between the Rose and Leicester’s Men — the first great Elizabethan acting company, who first ruled Elizabeth’s court revels, and who, during their 30-year career, were responsible for the Red Lion playhouse and the Theatre in Shoreditch. The talk will show that they were also likely the first to occupy the Rose, in their last year under the patronage of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. BIO Laurie Johnson is Professor of English and Cultural Studies at the University of Southern Queensland, Australia, and current President of the Australian and New Zealand Shakespeare Association. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and member of the editorial boards of the journals Early Theatre and Shakespeare. Publications include Shakespeare’s Lost Playhouse: Eleven Days at Newington Butts (2018) and The Tain of Hamlet (2013), and edited collections Embodied Cognition and Shakespeare’s Theatre: The Early Modern Body-Mind (with John Sutton and Evelyn Tribble, 2014) and Rapt in Secret Studies: Emerging Shakespeares (with Darryl Chalk, 2010). Professor Johnson also has a book forthcoming with Cambridge University Press titled Leicester’s Men and their Plays: An Early Elizabethan Playing Company and its Legacy, and is working on an international research team project investigating the role of 16th-century British climate on the rise of the playhouses and professional playing.