Shakespeare Project Grant – Bath Spa University

Work to preserve rare insights into Shakespeare’s theatrical world receives a £10,000 grant boost

Thursday, 23 September, 2021

Rare glimpses into the theatrical world in Shakespeare’s day, including the employment of child actors and singers, the musical instruments that were used, and the types of stage sets, are being carefully documented and preserved thanks to a project known as Civic London 1558-1642, led by Tracey Hill, Professor of Early Modern Literature and Culture.

She has recently received a grant of £10,000 over two years as part of the British Academy's Small Research Grants scheme. Tracey said:

“The grant will support primary research for my Civic London 1558-1642 project, enabling me to make considerable progress with my work on these unique, beautifully written, and often fragile documents.”

It’s the very first time that these surviving records have been systematically explored. Documents include records of the City of London's ancient livery companies – such as the Pewterers, the Cordwainers (shoemakers), and playwright Ben Jonson's company, the Tylers and Bricklayers. These are all references to the dramatic performance, music and ceremonial world of which these authors and playwrights were such a significant part.

In due course these records will be digitised and made freely available on an open access site run by Records of Early English Drama. Tracey said:

“So far I have discovered substantial fascinating and unknown aspects of the history of early modern performance in London, such as the work undertaken on civic entertainments by well-known dramatists including Ben Jonson, Thomas Middleton, Thomas Dekker, and John Webster."

Find out more on the project's web page.

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