Viewing Event Record: A spy writes to Secretary Walsingham of London's debauched theatre scene


A soldier employed as a spy by Secretary Walsingham includes a description of London's theatrical scene in his report. Players set up their bills every day of the week -- the Queen's Men, Leicester's, the Earl of Oxford's, the Lord Admiral's, among others -- and the playhouses draw audiences from the churches. It is 'a wofull sight to see two hundred proude players jett in their silkes, wheare five hundred pore people sterve in the streets.' Theatres should be made to pay a weekly pension to the poor.

Date Event Recorded

From: 25 January 1586 (Source of claim: original)

Date Event Happened

From: 25 January 1586 (Source of claim: original)



Name Event Role(s) Document Role(s)
Walsingham, Francis principal secretary

Event Type

  • anti-theatrical comment
  • company context
  • player context
  • playhouse context