Welcome to Early Modern London Theatres!

Early Modern London Theatres (EMLoT) is a research database and educational resource that grew out of a collaboration between the Records of Early English Drama (REED) at the University of Toronto, the Department of Digital Humanities (DDH) at King's College London, and the# Department of English at the University of Southampton. EMLoT was funded by the UK's Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the British Academy (BA), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).


EMLoT includes records pertaining to:


Version 1 (v.1): the eight theatres north of the Thames: the Red Lion (1567), the Theatre (1576), the Curtain (1577), the Fortune (1600), the Red Bull (1604), the Boar's Head (1602), the Phoenix or Cockpit (1616), and Salisbury Court (1629);


Version 2 (v.2): the theatres south of the Thames in the historic county of Surrey: Newington Butts (1570s), the Rose (1587), the Swan (1595), Globe I and II (1599, 1614), and the Hope (1614), as well as the bearbaiting arena(s) in the same area;


Version 3 (v.3): the theatres located within the bounds of the city of London: St Paul's I and II (1575, 1599), the Bel Savage Inn (1575), the Bell Inn (1576), Blackfriars I and II (1576, 1596), the Bull Inn (1578), the Cross Keys Inn (1578), Whitefriars (1609), Porter's Hall (1613) and miscellaneous smaller venues around the city.


EMLoT lets you see what direct use has been made, over the last four centuries, of pre-1642 documents related to professional performance in theatres and other permanent structures in the London area. It is not a comprehensive collection of those pre-1642 documents; rather, it charts the copies (or ‘transcriptions’) which were subsequently made of them. It thus gives you access to the varied and long after-life of those documents. It tells you who used them, and when, and where you can find evidence of that use. It also gives you some access to what was used, because it includes a brief account (or abstract) of the transcription’s contents, together with a reference to the location of the original document, where available.


This database does not include play texts or transcriptions from original documents. If your main interest is in the pre-1642 evidence for actual performances, ceremonies, and the playing of secular music in London, you should go first to the London area collections of the REED series. In print, these are: Ecclesiastical London (2008), the Inns of Court (2010), and Civic London to 1558 (2015), and online (to date): the Rose Playhouse (2023) and Bear Gardens/Hope Playhouse (2024).


Banner image: Frontispiece to Robert Dodsley's A Select Collection of Old Plays (1744). Image courtesy of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto.