Friday, September 07, 2012

Who Invented the "Shakespearean Theatre"?

Burbage & Shakespeare and/or Henslowe & Alleyn Saturday, 24th November 24th 2012, 10am-5pm, The University of Reading New digital resources such the University of Reading's Henslowe-Alleyn Digitisation Project ( and recent excavations by Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) are allowing us to re-evaluate our standard assumptions about drama, theatre and playhouses in the age of Shakespeare. Were Richard Burbage, William Shakespeare and their colleagues in the Lord Chamberlain's Men, and later the King's Men, and their co-investors in the Globe and Blackfriars playhouses really the most important figures in late 16th and early 17th theatre? Or were the theatrical entrepreneur Philip Henslowe and the eminent actor Edward Alleyn equally or more important figures with the Lord Strange's and later the Lord Admiral's Men at the Rose, Fortune and Hope Playhouses?
Were Henslowe and Alleyn rivals or competitors to Burbage and Shakespeare? Or were the four men colleagues, associates and friends in a profession that was much more interconnected than we know? This one-day conference brings together, for the first time, the leading archaeologists at MOLA, who have excavated the remains of the Theatre, Rose, Globe and now the Curtain playhouses, with leading scholars on Burbage, Shakespeare, Henslowe and Alleyn to discuss playhouses and acting companies and the writers, actors and entrepreneurs who "invented" the theatre that we know as "Shakespearean". Designed not just for Shakespearean scholars and students, but actors, directors, theatrical and literary audiences, aficionados and the general public, this conference promises to put Shakespeare and his contemporaries in their place. Speakers: R. A Foakes, Andrew Gurr, Grace Ioppolo, Sally-Beth MacLean, Alan H. Nelson, Stanley Wells, and MOLA archaeologists Julian Bowsher, Heather Knight, Pat Miller and David Saxby. Tickets (including lunch and reception): £40, with reduced rate of £25 for students, unwaged and over 60s. Online registration with a credit or debit card is now open through the University of Reading store at If you wish to pay by cheque, please email Mrs Jan Cox at for a booking form. For any queries, please contact Prof. Grace Ioppolo:


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