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Title: Early modern theatre people and their social networks
Author: Brown, Paul
ISNI:       0000 0004 6496 7624
Awarding Body: De Montfort University
Current Institution: De Montfort University
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis contributes new knowledge to an understanding of how people's social networks in the early modern theatre shaped the drama they created. By studying the lives of people working in the theatre, attending to biographical details not hitherto fully considered, it recasts received narratives of theatre history. Where theatre historians often tell stories of competition and combat, it finds evidence too for considerable amity across webs of relationships that are here called 'social networks'. This thesis offers new biographical facts about life events for the actor Richard Bradshaw and the actor-writer William Rowley. In addition, it endeavours to change the way historians think about collaborative playwriting in the period. Based on quantitative analysis, this thesis shows the rates of collaboration to be about half the rate of heretofore accepted estimates. Chapter One considers in detail the narratives that historians construct about the early modern theatre and the problems associated with them. It reviews the various classes of evidence used in later chapters and the uses to which such evidence can reasonably be put. Chapter Two explores an industry in expansion in the 1590s, re-examining the well-known duopoly narrative and reconsidering the various professional pursuits and diverse residences of actors and playwrights in the period. Chapter Three looks at the following decade, the 1600s, and the re-emergence of troupes of boy actors into an expanding and stabilising industry. Chapter Four shows how collaborative writing, though prevalent, was not as frequent as is usually thought; it also shows stark differences in rates of staging collaborative drama between companies. Each chapter closes with a biographical case study of a theatre person whose life is considered in terms of their social network. An examination of such networks is then used to reshape the way we understand events in their life and broader currents that involve the entire early modern theatre industry. Thinking about who interacted with whom and why adds a new layer of complexity to our collective model of how this entertainment industry produced the period's extraordinary proliferation of highly valued plays.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available