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 and its associated Learning Zone have been 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) (for further details, please see see Project Information: Version 1 Team and Sponsors).
EMLoT, v.1, features records pertaining to 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). The REED Content Development Team is currently seeking funding to develop version 2 of the database, which will incorporate 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.
EMLoT lets you see what direct use has been made, over the last four centuries, of pre-1642 documents related to professional performance in purpose-built 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.
This database does not include play texts, and 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, Middlesex and Surrey collections of the REED series. They are currently being edited — Ecclesiastical London (2008) and the Inns of Court (2010) are published — and, when they are completed, will be made available in hard copy and online, ultimately being linked to this site.
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.