Shakespeare--Who Was He? The Oxford Challenge to the Bard of Avon

By Richard F. Whalen | Go to book overview
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Appendix A
Records of Will Shakespere's Theater
Activities
None of the records from Will Shakspere's lifetime that are cited by Stratfordians, as evidence of his supposed acting career are theater records. His name, in whatever spelling, does not appear in cast lists, records of payment to actors, or diaries of theater managers. The records cited by Stratfordians are government records, literary allusions, two wills, and a joke.There are four citations in government documents:
1. In 1595, a record of payment to Will Kemp, Will Shakespeare, and Richard Burbage of the Lord Chamberlain's Men acting company for two performances before the queen. Oxfordians suggest, however, that the record is suspect and possibly fraudulent ( Ogburn, 65-66). The court record has the three men acknowledging payment for performances several months earlier, on Innocents Day and St. Stephen's Day, 1594, from the widow of the queen's treasurer. The widow had inherited her late husband's accounts, which were, the queen wrote her, seriously in arrears and due immediately. The widow, moreover, was the mother of the third earl of Southampton, to whom Shakespeare had dedicated the two narrative poems. Small world. Schoenbaum skips this aspect but does note a problem:

-133-

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