Queen Anne's Men

Queen Anne's Men was a playing company, or troupe of actors, in Jacobean era London. [E. K. Chambers, "The Elizabethan Stage," 4 Volumes, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1923; Vol. 2, pp. 220-41.] (In their own era they were known colloquially as the Queen's Men — as were Queen Elizabeth's Men and Queen Henrietta's Men, in their eras.)

Formation

The group was formed on the accession of James I in 1603, and named after its patron, James's wife Anne of Denmark. It was a combination of two previously-existing companies, Oxford's Men and Worcester's Men. [F. E. Halliday, "A Shakespeare Companion 1564–1964," Baltimore, Penguin, 1964; pp. 535-6.] Among the company's most important members were Christopher Beeston, its manager, and Thomas Heywood, the actor-dramatist who wrote many of its plays, including "The Rape of Lucrece" (printed 1608) and "The Golden Age" (printed 1611). William Kempe finished his career with this company, though he died c. 1603.

Personnel

In 1604, ten members of the new-formed company were granted the sum of four and a half pounds each, to buy red cloth for their livery for the March 15 coronation procession. The ten were Beeston, Heywood, Richard Perkins, Thomas Greene, John Duke, James Holt, Robert Beeston, Robert Lee, Robert Pallant, and Thomas Swinerton. The same ten men are listed in a license granted to the company in 1609 (though Pallant is misnamed "Richard").

Richard Perkins would develop into the company's leading actor, and acquire a reputation as a major tragedian. John Duke had come to Worcester's from the Lord Chamberlain's Men, along with Christopher Beeston, in 1602. Little is known of Robert Beeston, though the common name suggests he was a relative of Christopher. (Pairs of relatives were not uncommon in acting troupes in this era: the brothers John and Laurence Dutton in Oxford's Men and Queen Elizabeth's Men in the 1580s; Anthony and Humphrey Jeffes in the Admiral's/Prince Henry's Men in the early 17th century. Robert Pallant, the son of the man in Queen Anne's, would play female roles for the King's Men c. 1620.)

Thomas Greene was the company's major comedian; he was reputed to have once portrayed a baboon onstage. Greene was so closely identified with his role as Bubble in a 1611 play that the play became indelibly renamed "Greene's Tu Quoque".

A host of other actors were in the company over its tenure. See Richard Baxter and William Robbins for examples.

Theatres and performances

Queen Anne's Men originally performed at the Curtain playhouse — they acted "The Travels of the Three English Brothers," by William Rowley, John Day, and George Wilkins, there in 1607; but they also acted the same play at the Red Bull Theatre in Clerkenwell that same year, becoming the first company to play there. John Webster's tragedy "The White Devil" received a disastrous premiere at the Red Bull on an overcast winter day in 1612.

Despite their royal patronage, Queen Anne's Men appear to have performed only sporadically at Court in their first decade — something less than once a year on average. On January 12 and 13, 1612, the company joined with the King's Men for Court performances of two Queen's company's plays, "The Silver Age" and "The Rape of Lucrece". Queen Anne's Men played twice more at Court in the winter of 1613–14, three times in the following winter, and four times in 1615–16. They toured widely every summer throughout this period.

tyle

The company acquired a reputation for playing relatively unsophisticated drama for a rowdy audience. [For more on their theatre and its audience, see: "Swetnam the Woman-Hater".] Yet their style of drama had some surprising aspects. They were creative in terms of special effects: consider these stage directions from Heywood's "The Silver Age," [Andrew Gurr, "The Shakespearean Stage 1574–1642," Third edition, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1992; p. 186.] written for and acted by the company —

* "Enter Pluto with a club of fire, a burning crown...and a guard of devils, all with burning weapons"
* "Jupiter appears in his glory under a rainbow"
*"Thunder, lightnings, Jupiter descends in his majesty, his thunderbolt burning"
* "...fireworks all over the house."

Later years

In 1617 the company moved to the Cockpit Theatre, in the increasingly fashionable Drury Lane. This final move, which brought significantly higher admission prices, engendered indignation among their audience: the Cockpit was set on fire during a Shrove Tuesday riot in 1617 and had to be rebuilt. The Queen's troupe seems to have remained at the Cockpit for only a relatively brief time; within a couple of years they were back at the Red Bull. [John Tucker Murray, "English Dramatic Companies 1558–1642", Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1910; pp. 195-6.]

The actors lost their patron at the death of Queen Anne in 1619; they continued on as the Company of the Revels, often known simply as the Red Bull Company after their theatre. Their final years were marked by a major legal dispute: Thomas Greene's widow, remarried as Susan Baskervile, sued for moneys owed her through her late husband's share in the troupe and loans she had extended over the years. The outcome of the so-called Baskerville or Worth/Baskerville suit was that the actors lost and the company was forced to dissolve in 1623. [Gurr, p. 56.]

Some members moved on to other troupes; Richard Perkins, for example, would acquire a reputation as perhaps the major tragedian of his generation while acting with Queen Henrietta's Men from 1625 to 1642. Christopher Beeston would attain prominence as the dominant theatre manager and impressario of the 1620s and 1630s.

References


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Queen Anne's Men — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Queen Anne s Men, o los Queen s Men (Los hombres de la Reina), fue una compañía de teatro de la época jacobina. El grupo se formó al subir al trono Jacobo I en 1603, y reciben el nombre de su patrona, la esposa de… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Queen Anne's Men — ▪ British theatrical group also known as  Queen s Men        theatrical company in Jacobean England. Formed upon the accession of James I in 1603, it was an amalgamation of Oxford s Men and Worcester s Men. Christopher Beeston (Beeston,… …   Universalium

  • Queen Henrietta's Men — was an important playing company or troupe of actors in Caroline era London. At their peak of popularity, Queen Henrietta s Men were the second leading troupe of the day, after only the King s Men.BeginningsThe company was formed in 1625, at the… …   Wikipedia

  • Queen Anne's War — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Queen Anne s War caption= date= place=North America casus= territory= result= British victory; territorial gains and favorable trading terms for Britain. combatant1=flagicon|France|royal… …   Wikipedia

  • Queen Anne's bounty — Bounty Boun ty, n.; pl. {Bounties}. [OE. bounte goodness, kindness, F. bont[ e], fr. L. bonitas, fr. bonus good, for older duonus; cf. Skr. duvas honor, respect.] [1913 Webster] 1. Goodness, kindness; virtue; worth. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] Nature… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Doomed Queen Anne —   Author(s) Carolyn Meyer …   Wikipedia

  • Queen's Men — This is about Queen Elizabeth s playing company. See also Queen Anne s Men. The Queen s Men was an Elizabethan playing company that operated between 1583 and 1595. It was a popular company and its patron was Queen Elizabeth I. Among its actors… …   Wikipedia

  • Anne Boleyn — Infobox British Royalty|majesty|consort name = Anne Boleyn title =Queen Consort of England caption = reign =28 May 1533 ndash; 17 May 1536 coronation = 1 June 1533 spouse =Henry VIII issue =Elizabeth I titles = HM The Queen The Most Hon .… …   Wikipedia

  • Anne of Denmark — Infobox British Royalty|majesty|consort name = Anne of Denmark title = Queen consort of Scotland, England, and Ireland caption = Queen Anne in mourning for Prince Henry reign =20 August 1589 – 2 March 1619 24 March 1603 – 2 March 1619 reign type …   Wikipedia

  • Anne Boleyn — noun the second wife of Henry VIII and mother of Elizabeth I; was executed on a charge of adultery (1507 1536) • Syn: ↑Boleyn • Instance Hypernyms: ↑queen * * * Anne Boleyn [Anne Boleyn] …   Useful english dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.