Early Modern London Theatres (EMLoT) is one of a growing portfolio of electronic resources being developed by Records of Early English Drama. You can access these other resources, such as the Patrons and Performances Web Site database through the REED Online website. REED is an international scholarly project that is establishing for the first time the broad context from which the great drama of Shakespeare and his contemporaries grew. REED examines the historical manuscripts that provide external evidence of drama, secular music, and other communal entertainment and ceremony from the Middle Ages until 1642, when the Puritans closed the London theatres. Although the project is based at the University of Toronto (an institution renowned for its scholarship in medieval and early modern culture), REED's internal governance is provided by an Executive Board of senior scholars in early drama and related fields. Its advisors and collections editors are drawn from Canada, the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

Development of EMLoT

EMLoT began life as a scholarly Bibliography (called the London Theatres Bibliography) designed to assist the editors of REED’s collections for London, Middlesex and Surrey. This broad academic remit enabled it to include material which is no longer consulted as authoritative or is hard to access, for example, late seventeenth- and eighteenth-century published works on the early theatres and the unpublished papers and research of noted theatre historians. As this Bibliography grew it thus became a profile, not only of the documentary history of the early London stage, but also of the treatment of each document comprising this history. It became, in other words, a source for exploring the history and the meta-history of the early London theatres: the records of events and the filtration process by which these records have come down to us. At this point it was decided that such a resource could benefit a much wider group than the specialist audience originally intended. A number of national funding bodies in the UK and Canada then enabled this cultural enrichment to be achieved, and they are acknowledged by their logos on the front of this website, and with greater detail in Project Information: Sponsors and Team. EMLoT was launched on 1 February 2011 at Globe Education in London. Globe Education, the University of Southampton and SSHRC co-sponsored the launch.

Version History

Version 1 (February 2011): Records pertaining to the Eight Theatres north of the Thames – the Red Lion (1567), Theatre (1576), Curtain (1577), Fortune (1600), Red Bull (1604), Boar's Head (1602), Phoenix or Cockpit (1616), and Salisbury Court (1629)

Version 2 (February 2018): Records pertaining to 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 (April 2024): Records pertaining to 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.

A brief technical note

For the publication of versions 1 and 2 EMLoT operated as a server-driven interactive site. For version 3 however, the server has been done away with, and the user interactions (principally, the Keyword Search and Browse elements) that had been passed to the server to handle were, instead, given to Javascript code to handle within the user’s browser itself. Information about how this server-less transformation was accomplished can be found at GitHub repository emlot-static.