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Patronage of wealthy and noble individuals was highly desirable for writers and poets throughout the early modern period, but it was absolutely essential for players. Per the "Acte for the punishment of Vacabondes," issued in 1572, any group or individual who wished to travel and sell, perform, or otherwise purvey their goods or services needed to have the patronage of either two judges or one nobleman. As the law was revised and refined, only the highest of noblemen were allowed to provide patronage to acting troupes--this was partially a political move for the aristocracy of the time, but was extremely influential in the organization of professional groups of players. Elizabeth I was the first to form a troupe under the patronage of a sitting monarch in 1574, and James I (who was known for his patronage of artists, poets, and actors), was quick to make Shakespeare's theater company, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, his own once he reached London in May 1603. At the time, the London theaters were closed due to the plague. When they reopened, his warrant decreed that the players were to perform “within their now usual house called the Globe” and throughout the country "for the recreation of our loving subjects" and for the king's "solace and pleasure when we shall think good to see them." Shakespeare and his fellows were now the King's Men.

All Documents

May 15, 1604
The paper notebook shown here names William Shakespeare as a recipient of 4 1/2 yards of red cloth in anticipation of King James’s coronation progress, granting Shakespeare substantially the same recognition as the rest of the twenty-eight players named in the Lord Chamberlain’s accou
May 13, 1605
Augustine Phillips was a long-time member of the same playing company as William Shakespeare – the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, later the King’s Men. Phillips’s will, dated May 4, 1605, provides insight into two important aspects of the company’s operations.
1604- 1605
The Revels Book of 1604–5 shows William Shakespeare at or near the height of his success as a playwright, with seven plays and eight performances at court. Merchant of Venice was so admired by the king that he commanded a repeat performance.
1605
Augustine Phillips was a long-time member of the same playing company as William Shakespeare – the Lord Chamberlain’s and later the King’s Men. Phillips’s will, dated May 4, 1605, provides insight into two important aspects of the company’s operations.
September 1610
In September 1610, Henry Jackson (1586-1662) of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, wrote a letter in Latin to his friend “G.P.” in which he described a recent visit by Shakespeare’s company, the King’s Men.
1611
The Revels Book of 1611–12 records that the court saw only two of Shakespeare’s plays. This is five fewer than the seven performances recorded in the 1604–5 accounts.
April 20, 1619
In 1606 John Witter of Mortlake, Surrey, married Anne Phillips, widow of Augustine Phillips, a member of the King’s Men who had died in 1605.
April 28, 1619
In 1606 John Witter of Mortlake, Surrey, married Anne Phillips, widow of Augustine Phillips, a member of the King’s Men who had died in 1605.
May 10, 1619
In 1606 John Witter of Mortlake, Surrey, married Anne Phillips, widow of Augustine Phillips, a member of the King’s Men who had died in 1605.
April 23, 1620
In 1606 John Witter of Mortlake, Surrey, married Anne Phillips, widow of Augustine Phillips, a member of the King’s Men who had died in 1605.

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