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What where Shakespeare's acting troupe called and why?

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dl138089 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 13, 2009 at 10:44 PM via web

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What where Shakespeare's acting troupe called and why?

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hi1954 | Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted April 14, 2009 at 10:26 AM (Answer #1)

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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.

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jillyfish | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted April 13, 2009 at 11:09 PM (Answer #2)

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They were called 'The Lord Chamberlain's Men' and later they changed their name to 'The King's Men'.

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted February 22, 2015 at 2:11 AM (Answer #3)

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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!

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