Internet Shakespeare Editions


A hotbed of vice and sedition

The Guildhall of the City of London.

The relationship between the players and the authorities in the largely Puritan City of London was always strained. The Privy Council was also wary of the political comment often present in topical plays. Censorship was strict.

In 1596 the City Corporation ordered the expulsion of players from London and the closing of the inn-theaters (Shakespeare's company usually performed during the winter at the Cross Keys Inn).

The theaters themselves were outside the City, but in 1597 there was a scandal as a result of a performance of a play which was considered seditious--Thomas Nashe's Isle of Dogs (no copy of the play survives).

More on the city and the theaters...