Petition to the Privy Council against using Blackfriars as a playhouse


This is a copy from 1631 of a 1596 petition to the Privy Council by Blackfriars residents. The locals were successful in preventing Shakespeare’s company from opening the Blackfriars Playhouse, due to concerns that ‘vagrant and lewd persons … under colour of resorting to the plays, will come thither and work all manner of mischief’. Astonishingly, the petition was signed by two men who had a strong interest in Shakespeare’s success: his patron, Lord Hunsdon, and his publisher and fellow Stratford man, Richard Field. The driving force behind the petition was Lady Elizabeth Russell, a fierce defender of Puritan interests.

Full title:
Petition to the Privy Council against using Blackfriars as a playhouse
1631, London
Manuscript / Petition
© The National Archives
Held by:
National Archives
SP 12/260

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