Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Brookes Lecturer uncovers secret life of 16th century theatre

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Brookes Lecturer uncovers secret life of 16th century theater

Dr Eleanor Lowe, Senior Lecturer in Drama at Oxford Brookes University, has recently worked in collaboration with The Malone Society.

She has contributed to a section entitled Accounts and Inventories of the Revels Office,1541-1546 in the book Collections XVII, which details the workings of the Revels Office between 1541-1546.

The Revels Office was in charge of controlling and censoring the many plays and masques presented in England’s courts.The inventories in this volume are made up of the number and cost of costumes, props and cloth, along with details of payment to labourers and the organisation of transport from London to Hampton Court Palace and other royal venues.

Dr Lowe, whose research interests include Early Modern drama and theatre practice, explained the significance of the documents: “They’re fascinating because they provide detail on the theatrical content and organisation of labour at court during the first part of the sixteenth century. Although these kinds of inventories are not rare, this one is particularly unusual because we don't have any other documents relating to these masques during the reign of Henry VIII.”

Surrey History Center holds several of the original documents used in the book; the rest are located at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C.

Members of The Malone Society for this year get a free copy of this book as part of their membership.