Abstract

Abstract:

The resilient character of Christopher Beeston is demonstrated during the struggles to erect and consolidate his playhouse. The proofs can be glimpsed in surviving documents analysed in this article including, for example, London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) MJ/SB/R/002, p.344. This records the arrest of the bricklayer digging the playhouse's foundations. Foundations denote a new playhouse built; other documents, however, relating to the building, record a theatre connected to an arena for fighting cocks. Yet another document records a conversion. These texts will be discussed to examine a confusing progression of understanding about the playhouse, leading scholars and those interested in reconstruction along diverse ways. Throughout all these pieces of evidence the determination of Beeston in the effort to build and succeed with the erection of his indoor venue, not far from Queen Anna's new residence in the Strand, is obvious. On a day less than a year after the building of the playhouse in Drury Lane, however, interruptions of another kind struck. On Shrove Tuesday 1617, according to reports, between 3,000 and 4,000 people rioted in at least two different parts of London. These included Drury Lane and the riot affected its theatre which was nearly destroyed. According to legal documents, some of those arrested (which never went into the 1000s) were women. Despite the arrest of the builder digging the Cockpit's foundations, legal challenges to its erection, and a riot, Beeston persevered and, ultimately, triumphed. The work of those engaged in pinpointing the Cockpit-Phoenix during the twentieth to twenty-first century will also be alluded to such as that of Graham F. Barlow, tracing plots of ground in the Drury Lane area. The question of the extent of the "success" of these kinds of effort remains, however, a subject for debate.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1931-1427
Print ISSN
0748-2558
Pages
pp. 1-23
Launched on MUSE
2019-05-31
Open Access
No
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