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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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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
1607
Thomas Walkington’s The Optick Glasse of Humors (1607) popularized one of Shakespeare’s most-quoted lines in the seventeenth century: “Fat paunches have lean pates, and dainty bits / Make rich the ribs but bankrupt quite the wits,” from Love’s Labor&rsqu
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
May 2, 1608
A Yorkshire Tragedy was entered into Liber C of the Stationers' Company on May 2, 1608, as "A booke Calle A yorkshire Tragedy written by Wylliam Shakespere." This is one of the five times Shakespeare's name appears in the Stationers' registers.
1608
Working with printer William White, Matthew Law published the fourth edition of Richard II in 1608.
May 20, 1608
Pericles was entered into Liber C of the Stationers' Company on May 20, 1608 as "The booke of Pericles prynce of Tyre." On the same date, Antony and Cleopatra was also entered into the Register, as "Anthony.
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.

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