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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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1607
George Eld printed The Puritan; or, the Widow of Watling Street in 1607 with an attribution to “W.S.” The title page’s further information that the play was performed by the Children of Paul’s is the strongest evidence against the Shakespeare attribution as Shakes
August 6, 1607
The Puritan was entered into Liber C of the Stationers' Company on August 6, 1607 as "the comedie of 'The Puritan Widowe'." George Eld, the publisher and printer who registered the title, produced the first and only quarto edition l
January 22, 1607
On January 22, 1607, publisher Cuthbert Burby transferred Romeo and Juliet, Love's Labor's Lost, and The Taming of the Shrew to fellow publisher Nicholas Ling in an entry in Liber C of the Stationers' Company.
November 19, 1607
On November 19, 1607, publisher Nicholas Ling transferred the publication rights to sixteen titles to fellow publisher John Smethwick, in an entry in Liber C of the Stationers' Company.
November 26, 1607
Nathaniel Butter and John Busby entered King Lear into Liber C of the Stationers' Company on November 26, 1607, as "Master William Shakespeare his 'historye of Kinge Lear' as yt was played before the kinges maiestie at Whitehall vppon Sainct Stephens night at Christ
1607
According to extracts published in the 19th century purporting to be from the journal of Captain William Keeling of the East India Company, Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Richard II were performed on Keeling’s ship, the Red Dragon (also known as Dra
1608
The fourth edition of Henry IV Part 1 features the same information on its title page as the previous two editions printed in 1599 and 1604, including the claim that it was “Newly corrected by W.
1608
At some point in 1608, Mathew Law re-published Richard II, including a new title page.
1608
This is the first edition of King Lear. It was printed in 1608 by Nicholas Okes, most likely within a year of when Nathaniel Butter and John Busby registered the play with the Stationers’ Company on November 26, 1607.
November 11, 1608
Dated November 11, 1608, this is the third 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.

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