Early Modern London Theatres (EMLoT) is one of a growing portfolio of electronic resources being developed by Records of Early English Drama (REED). You can access these other resources, such as the Patrons and Performances Web Site database and, eventually, all the REED volumes themselves, through the REED website. REED is an international scholarly project that is establishing for the first time the broad context from which the great drama of Shakespeare and his contemporaries grew. REED examines the historical manuscripts that provide external evidence of drama, secular music, and other communal entertainment and ceremony from the Middle Ages until 1642, when the Puritans closed the London theatres. Although the project is based at the University of Toronto (an institution renowned for its scholarship in medieval and early modern culture), REED's internal governance is provided by an Executive Board of senior scholars in early drama and related fields. Its advisors and collections editors are drawn from Canada, the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
EMLoT began life as a scholarly Bibliography (called the London Theatres Bibliography) designed to assist the editors of REED’s collections for London, Middlesex and Surrey. This broad academic remit enabled it to include material which is no longer consulted as authoritative or is hard to access, for example, late seventeenth- and eighteenth-century published works on the early theatres and the unpublished papers and research of noted theatre historians. As this Bibliography grew it thus became a profile, not only of the documentary history of the early London stage, but also of the treatment of each document comprising this history. It became, in other words, a source for exploring the history and the meta-history of the early London theatres: the records of events and the filtration process by which these records have come down to us. (If you would like an example of how the database can reveal the process by which sources are used and turned into historical ‘knowledge’, the Learning Zone offers one.) At this point it was decided that such a resource could benefit a much wider group than the specialist audience originally intended. A number of national funding bodies in the UK and Canada then enabled this cultural enrichment to be achieved, and they are acknowledged by their logos on the front of this website, and with greater detail in Project Information: Sponsors and Team. EMLoT was launched on 1 February 2011 at Globe Education in London. Globe Education, the University of Southampton and SSHRC co-sponsored the launch.
Version 1 (February 2011): Records pertaining to the Eight Theatres north of the Thames [Red Lion (1567), the Theatre (1576), the Curtain (1577), the Fortune (1600), the Red Bull (1604), the Boar's Head (1602), the Phoenix or Cockpit (1616), and Salisbury Court (1629)]
The next version of the database will incorporate the Bankside theatres in the historic county of Surrey.