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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.

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1592- 1594
The entrepreneur Philip Henslowe’s unique “Diary,” or account book, of his extensive theatrical enterprises records the titles of over 325 plays from 1592 to 1604, including two, perhaps three, plays written in part or whole by Shakespeare: Henry VI Part
March 15, 1595
By March 15, 1595, and inferentially by Christmas 1594, William Shakespeare had become a leading member of his company, the Lord Chamberlain’s players, sufficiently senior to serve with William Kempe and Richard Burbage as a financial trustee.
ca. August 27, 1597
This document, part of the Rye Chamberlain’s Accounts, includes an August 1597 entry for a payment of 20 shillings to Shakespeare’s company, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men.
1599
Sometime after Sir George Buc, the future Master of the Revels, purchased the anonymous play George a Greene, Pinner of Wakefield shown here, he added two manuscript notes to the title page.
February 17, 1600
In early 1601, Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, led a rebellion which was over almost as soon as it began.
February 18, 1601
In early 1601, Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, led a rebellion which was over almost as soon as it began.
May 19, 1603
SHAKESPEARE DOCUMENTED IS STILL GROWING! Descriptive content and transcriptions will continue to be added, updated and expanded. Check back for regular updates!
May 17, 1603
SHAKESPEARE DOCUMENTED IS STILL GROWING! Descriptive content and transcriptions will continue to be added, updated and expanded. Check back for regular updates!
May 18, 1603
Although James VI of Scotland was proclaimed king of England on March 24, 1603, it took him over a month to arrive in London.
August 9-27, 1604
From August 9 to 26, 1604, twelve fellows of Shakespeare’s company, the King’s Men, attended upon the Spanish Ambassador at Somerset House, London. For about the same time, eleven fellows of the Queen’s Men attended upon other noblemen at Durham House, London: 

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