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Shakespeare was involved in many aspects of London’s professional theatrical world. He was an actor, a playwright, and a shareholder in an acting company known as the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, which became the King’s Men when James I became king in 1603. His plays were performed on professional stages owned by his company--first the Theatre, and then, after 1599, the Globe. (After a property dispute, the Theatre was disassembled and the timbers used to build the Globe). In 1609, his company began using its own indoor theater at Blackfriars. His plays were performed in many other spaces, including the royal court, the universities of Oxford and Cambridge and the Inns of Court, public buildings and outdoor spaces in the provinces, and private households.

The total number of Shakespeare’s plays varies somewhat, depending on who is counting them, and how. The total shifts between 38 and 40 plays as scholars reassess references to his two lost plays--Love’s Labor’s Won and Cardenio--and analyze how large a hand he had in some collaboratively-written plays.

This category includes all publications of his plays, up to and including the First Folio in 1623; all entries for his plays in the Stationers' Register; administrative documents from the National Archives and elsewhere that make reference to his theaters and theater companies; and printed and handwritten references to seeing and/or reading his plays. Read Alan H. Nelson's thematic essay to learn more about lawsuits in Shakespeare's England.

Visit the British Library's Shakespeare in Quarto, to learn even more about actorsplayhouses and theater companies in Shakespeare's time, and to view completely digitized copies of Shakespeare's plays.

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1622
This is the first edition of Othello, printed in 1622, around eighteen years after it was first written and performed. It was entered into the Stationers’ Company Register on October 6, 1621 by Thomas Walkley, who then had it printed by Nicholas Okes.
1622
This is the sixth edition of Richard III, printed in 1622 for Matthew Law. However, Thomas Creede, the printer for the second through fifth editions, died in 1616 and Law turned to Thomas Purfoot to print this edition.
ca. 1622
SHAKESPEARE DOCUMENTED IS STILL GROWING! Descriptive content and transcriptions will continue to be added, updated and expanded. Check back for regular updates!
ca. 1622
This the fourth edition of Romeo and Juliet. It was printed sometime around 1622 by John Windet for John Smethwicke.
November 8, 1623
The First Folio, which represents the first printed collection of 16 of Shakespeare’s plays, was entered into Liber D of the Stationers' Company on November 8, 1623.
Spring 1624
The principal book fair in Western Europe was held biannually in Frankfurt, Germany. While most books offered at the fair were in Latin, by 1618-1619 booksellers advertised books in English in printed catalogs.
March 12, 1624
Dated March 12, 1623/4, this is the fifth of five enrolled indentures of bargain and sale for the Globe site, naming William Shakespeare as a leasee. The Globe playhouse was first built in 1599 on land leased from Sir Nicholas Brend.
ca. 1622- 1625
This circa 1620s manuscript commonplace book includes eleven Shakespearean extracts from four plays: three from Richard II, one from Romeo and Juliet, five from Hamlet and two from Othello.
ca. 1570- 1625
SHAKESPEARE DOCUMENTED IS STILL GROWING! Descriptive content and transcriptions will continue to be added, updated and expanded. Check back for regular updates!
ca. 1616- 1630
SHAKESPEARE DOCUMENTED IS STILL GROWING! Descriptive content and transcriptions will continue to be added, updated and expanded. Check back for regular updates!

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