Internet Shakespeare Editions


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Public Record Office, E. 351/542, f. 107v. Crown copyright. This document may be copied and downloaded for personal and research use only. You must apply to the Public Record Office for any other use.

The earliest official record of Shakespeare in the theater is an entry in the Declared Accounts of the Treasurer of the Royal Chamber, dated 15 March 1595. Shakespeare is listed as a payee, along with Richard Burbage and William Kempe, receiving 20 pounds for a Christmas performance before the Queen.

To Will Kempe Will Shakespeare & Richarde Burbage servantes to the Lord Chamberleyne vpon the councelles warr[ant] dated at Whitehall XV to Martii 159[5] for twoe severall comedies of Enterludes shewed by them before her Ma[jety] in [Christ]mas tyme laste paste viz vpon St Stephens daye & Innocentes daye xiij vj viij and by waye of her Ma[jety's] Rewarde vj xiij iiij in all xx.

The document not only locates Shakespeare in the London theatrical world, but also indicates that he had risen to a position of prominence as a principal sharer in the Lord Chamberlain's company.