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Welcome to Episode #175 of That Shakespeare Life, the podcast that takes you behind the curtain and into the life of William Shakespeare.

In 1603, as King James VI of Scotland became King James I of England following the death of Elizabeth I, one of the people James’ tapped to walk in his coronation parade was William Shakespeare, along with the entire Lord Chamberlain’s Men company who received the official patronage of James I to become the King’s Men. The new title and status brought big changes to the performance of plays, the subject matter selected for play writing, and gave William Shakespeare the position in society he had long sought after. Our guest this week, Lucy Munro, is here to share her research into the King’s Men and what the shift from Elizabethan into Jacobean England brought about for Shakespeare. 

Join the conversation below.

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Lucy Munro is Professor of Shakespeare and Early Modern Literature at King’s College London. She teaches, researches and writes on the plays and poetry of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, theatre history, histories of gender and childhood. Her publications include three books, Children of the Queen’s Revels: A Jacobean Theatre History (2005), Archaic Style in English Literature, 1590-1674 (2013) and Shakespeare in the Theatre: The King’s Men (2020), and editions of plays such as Shakespeare and Wilkins’s Pericles, Fletcher’s The Tamer Tamed, Richard Brome’s The Demoiselle and The Queen and Concubine, Massinger’s The Picture and Dekker, Ford and Rowley’s The Witch of Edmonton. Her edition of Shirley’s The Gentleman of Venice is forthcoming in The Complete Works of James Shirley in summer 2021. Her most recent essays include studies of the Blackfriars playhouse in English Literary Renaissance and Shakespeare Quarterly. She is a contributor to two collaborative research projects, Before Shakespeare (beforeshakespeare.com) and Engendering the Stage (engenderingthestage.humanities.mcmaster.ca)

In this episode, I’ll be asking Lucy Munro about :

  • Did William Shakespeare himself walk in the coronation parade for James I?
  • Lucy writes that Shakespeare wrote several of his plays with the King’s Men in mind. Lucy, how was this perspective different now that the King’s Men were officially patronized by the King? Had Shakespeare not always been writing with his specific playing company as the intended performance group? 
  • What changed for the life of William Shakespeare with this new appointment? Was he making more money, did he have a higher status in society? How was the day to day life of William Shakespeare impacted by this official patronage?
  • … and more!

Here’s what’s available for this episode:

  • Photo of a memorial in London which honors Heminges and Condell as “close personal friends” of William Shakespeare
  • Image of an example of ancient scarlet cloth
  • Diagram of the Globe Theater, drawn by Cassidy Cash
  • Self-portrait of Richard Burbage, c.1600
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Book & Resources Lucy Munro recommends:

Lucy recommends Shakespeare Documented, a truly incredible resource of digitized archival documents about the life of William Shakespeare. Explore Shakespeare Documented here.