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The troupe Shakespeare joined in London had originally been formed under the patronage of Lord Strange, but on his death in 1594 the troupe found a new patron, Lord Henry Carey. As Carey was Lord Chamberlain at the time, the group was renamed "the Lord Chamberlain's Men." We know from documentation early in the next year that during the 1594 Christmas season Shakespeare was a "senior member" of the troupe. In 1595 Shakespeare was listed as actor and one of the shareholder's of the troup, whose principal sharer (and actor) was Richard Burbage. Will Kemp, most famous clown of the age, was also a principal shareholder of the troupe.
In 1603 the troupe was renamed the King's Men, in honor of the new king and their new patron, James I. They performed often at the Globe and Blackfriar's theatres, but played more often at court than any other acting troupe. In eleven months starting November 1604 they performed eleven times at court, seven of which were plays authored by Shakespeare.
Most scholars believe that Shakespeare came to London as an actor in the 1580's. He was well established by the early 1590's and had joined a theatrical company named the Lord Chamberlain's men. The company was originally formed under Lord Strange but when he died was taken over by Queen Elizabeth's cousin Henry Carey. He was called Lord Chamberlain because he served on an important advisory committee to the queen called the Privy Council. By 1594 Shakespeare had become a part owner and the most important playwright in the company, although they still performed plays by Shakespeare's contemporaries such as Christopher Marlowe and Ben Jonson.
In 1599 the Lord Chamberlain's men built the Globe Theatre at Bankside in Southwark, an area of London. Upon Queen Elizabeth's death in 1603 the company was taken over by the new king, James I. It was then appropriately renamed The King's Men with Shakespeare as a prominent member and stockholder. Shakespeare continued to be the principal playwright for the company until his retirement in about 1610. He had become quite prosperous, having profited greatly from his association with the London theater company.
Quite simply, Shakespeare's acting troupe was called "The Lord Chamberlain's Men" and was later called "The Kings Men." The reason for the change is what calls for more detail.
Originally named "The Lord Chamberlain's Men," the group was formed under the patronage of Lord Carey (which means that it was Lord Carey who provided them funding to produce plays). Lord Carey's title at the time was Lord Chamberlain, hence the name of the troupe after their patron: "The Lord Chamberlain's Men."
It was founded during the reign of Elizabeth I of England in 1594, under the patronage of Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon, then the Lord Chamberlain, who was in charge of court entertainments.
At this time, Shakespeare was considered one of the founding members and paid quite handsomely. In "The Lord Chamberlain's Men," Shakespeare was among his contemporaries also known for their acting abilities such as Burbage and Kemp. They were all shareholders. This was at the very end of the sixteenth century.
However, very early in the seventeenth century, namely 1603, England had a new king who was a very big fan of Shakespeare's acting troupe; therefore, the king himself (James I) became their one an only patron. For this reason, they changed the name of the acting troupe to "The King's Men." During this time period, Shakespeare wrote ferociously and, in fact, almost a dozen plays were put on in court within one year!
Shakespeare’s acting troupe was named after its patrons. The first troupe Shakespeare joined was formed under the patronage of Lord Strange. Upon his death the troupe became “The Lord Chamberlain’s Men” after Lord Henry Carey who was Lord Chamberlain at the time. In 1603 the troupe became “The King’s Men” in honor of King James I - the troupe's new patron.
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