Dn. Amens, of Cornell University, has written a valuable history of the early London theatres, incorporating the results of much independent research as well as the discoveries recently made by British and American scholars. It is true, as ho says, that tho only available modem book on the subject is The Early London Theatres in the Fields, which Mr. Fairman Ordish published in 1894, and that book, though highly interesting, deals with only a. third of the Elizabethan and Jacobean theatres. Dr. Adams covers the whole field in a systematic fashion, taking the theatres in the chronological order of their erection and summarizing all the available information about each house and the companies that used it, with numerous plane and reproductions of old prints and drawings. Thus the book will afford a solid back- ground for the history of the Elizabethan drama. The early Tudor companies of players made regular use of five London inns—the 'Bell' and the 'Cross Keys' in Graceehurch Street, the 'Bull' in Bishopegate, the 'Bell Savage' in Ludgate Hill, and the 'Boar's Head' in Whitechapel without Ahlgate=not Falstaff's hostelry in Eaatcheap. The City fathers in 1574 decreed that the players should no longer use these inns, but the decree, as the author shows, was largely inoperative, and the inns continued to serve as theatres for many years. The Common Council disliked the drama, partly for Puritanical reasons, partly because the mobs of playgoers were unwelcome in the narrow City streets. Therefore the Council imposed severe restrictions on the theatrical companies, setting up a civic censorship of plays and requiring that all theatres should be licensed and should contribute to the relief of the poor. The players were thus inclined to betake themselves outside the City jurisdiction, just at the time when they were beginning to need permanent homes specially adapted for theatrical purposes. Dr. Adams aptly observes that the nascent drama required also a business man with imagination enough to see that a theatre would pay. The occasion found the man in James Burbage, by trade a carpenter and by choice an actor, who managed Lord Leicester's company. With his own savings and with the larger capital of his brother-in-law, Brayne, a London grocer, Burbage leased a site in Holywell, close to Finsbury Field and just beyond the City bounds. Them in 1576 he built a large wooden structure, probably round or polygonal, which was styled " The Theatre." The success of the first London playhouse encouraged Lanman, a London citizen, to build another hard by, called the Curtain, which was opened in 1577. Burbage and Lanman came to a working agreement to pool their profits, and both did well. But Burbage became involved in disputes with his ground landlord and his partner's widow and others, and at last, a year after Burbage's death in 1597, his sons, Cuthbert and time celebrated Richard, pulled down the Theatre and transferred the materials to Bankside, where they were used in the erection of the Globe.
The next theatrical enterprise was that of Farrant, who leased the buttery of the old Blackfriars monastery and fitted it up as a theatre in 1576.77. Lord Oxford took over the lease and gave it to his private secretary, John Lyly, who produced his well-known Alexander and Campaspe and Sapho and Phao in this theatre in 1684. But the landlord, alarmed, perhaps, at the crowds which flocked into what was then a quiet residential quarter, took steps to cancel the lease. The choristers of St. Paul's, who had acted for Lyly at his little theatre, seem to have performed also at their singing-school, but a private manager • Shakespearean Playhouses : A History of English Theatres from IhSR•ginnings to the Restoration. lly Joseph Quincy Adams. London; Constablo, i21s. not,' Whitefriars found it profitable later to pay them £20 a year not to give any more performances. The interest then shifts to the Bankside, noted for its bull and bear-battings and still more unseemly entertainments in the Bishop of Winchester's Liberty, known as the Clink. A theatre was built a mile or so away at Newington Butts, but it proved too remote for Londoners. Henslowe, a shrewd capitalist, was better advised when he opened the Rose—a round buikling—in 1587 near the Bear Garden on Bankside. Henslowe's only daughter Joan In 1592 married his partner, the actor Edward Alleyn, and the wealth which they amassed went to found Dulwich College in 1620. The next theatre to be built was the Swan in Paris Garden, a little further west along the river-bank, on a site now covered by the southern approaches to Blackfriars Bridge ; but this house, opened in 1595, fell under the displeasure of the Privy Council in 1597 for a seditious play in which Nash and Jenson were concerned, and it does not seem to have been much used afterwards. Crossing the river again to Blackfriars, the author gives a very full and interesting account of the second Blackfriars theatre, which James Burbage fitted up in 1596 in whathed been the Frater of the monastery, where Queen Catherine of .Aragon stood her trial. He was forbidden to use it and died a year later, but his sons ultimately carried out his plans. Their lessee Evans, and his partner Giles, Master of the Children of the Chapel Royal, formed a company of boy-actors in 1600 whose popularity is mentioned by Rosenerantz in Handel—" an aerie of children, little oyases, that cry out on the top of question and are most tyrannically clapped for it" But when Evans and Giles were found to be kidnapping children for their company, they lost favour, and the company incurred royal displeasure by mimicking James the First in Eastward Hoe in 1605 and by ridiculing the French Court in a play on Biron's conspiracy. In 1608 Richard Burbage recovered possession, and he then worked out a scheme for managing the Blackfriars as a winter theatre in conjunction with the Globe as a summer theatre. The Globe, opened in 1599 on Bankside near the Rose, on a site now covered by Barclay and Perkins's brewery, had been highly successful under the management of a syndicate, Richard and Cuthbert Burbage holding half of the shares, and Shake- speare, Heminges, Phillips, Pope and Kempe the other half. The syndicate, as " housekeepers," provided the building and took half the bookings from the galleries. The company— the King's Men—took half the bookings for what we should call the reserved seats, and also the fees paid for admission to the open pit. Several of the " housekeepers " were also members of the company. This plan of profit-sharing kept the company together, and the Globe, under the great actor-manager Burbage, with Shakespeare to provide plays, was for long the best theatre in London. Burnt down in 1613, it was quickly rebuilt and lasted till the Civil War. The Blackfriars, also under a Burbage syndicate in which Shakespeare and Heminges and Condell —the editors of the First Folio—had shares, flourished as the winter home of the King's Men.
Burbage's chief rivals, Henslowe and Alleyn, replied to hia invasion of Bankside by going to the north of London and setting up the Fortune Theatre in Whitecross Street, close to Old Street. This was a large square house ; it was burnt in 1623 and rebuilt, but gradually went out of fashion. The Rtel. Bull was built near Clerkenwell Green in 1605, and was occupied by the Queen's Men under the management of Heywood. A little later, Drayton and a partner set up a theatre in the old grater of the Whitefriars, close to the modern Bonverie Street, but the house did not thrive. In 1613 the indefatigable Henslowe built the Hope, on the site of the old Bear Garden at Bankside, but the house, not succeeding as a theatre, was used for bear- baitings for many years. The Phoenix or Cockpit in Drury Lane—to the north-east of the present Theatre Royal—was opened in 1617 by Christopher Beeston with the Queen's Men. Davenant succeeded Beeston in 1640 as manager of the company, and it Was at the Cockpit that he introduced opera towards the end of the Protectorate, thus evading the Puritan prohibition of stage-plays. A small theatre was opened in Salisbury Court in 1629—apparently where the Salisbury Hotel now stands— and this, too, survived the Restoration. Lastly, there was the Cockpit in Court—the King's private theatre in Whitehall, on or near the site of the Treasury. Dr. Adams has cleared away much of the confusion caused by the existence of two Cockpit Theatres, besides the Royal Cockpit in St. James's Park, near Storey's Gate. The King's private theatre was rebuilt about the year 1632 by Inigo Jones, and Dr. Adams
thinks that he has identified the design, based on Palladio's beautiful Teatro Olimpioo at Vicenza, which Jones made for a building that disappeared long since. The Blackfriars company repeatedly acted in this house before Charles the First. After the Restoration Pepys was privileged several times to attend the royal playhouse, where the fine ladies pleased him more than the acting. It will be seen from this outline of the book how large a field Dr. Adams has covered. Unlike many students of the drama he abstains from controversy, and is content to give his evidence and present his conclusions. To all who are interested in the Elizabethan drama and in the history of old London his book will be invaluable.