NB. This page is a work in progress; rather than attempting to represent a complete list of plays associated with the Admiral's Men, this page will continually be updated as new entries are created for applicable plays.
An early version of the players under the patronage of Charles Howard, who became Lord Admiral in 1585 and the earl of Nottingham in 1596, carried the name of Lord Howard's men. The troupe toured in the provinces, 1577-9 (REED PP), and they appeared at court during Christmastide 1576-7 and 1577-8. Two of their plays for 1576-7 (both lost) are named: Tooley and The Solitary Knight.
After Howard became Lord Admiral (1585), his players maintained a vigorous touring schedule on the traditional circuits throughout England into 1593 (REED PP). Despite the hegemony of the Queen's players at court, the Admiral's men performed there in the 1586-7 season on 27 December 1586 and 6 January (with Hunsdon's players). Their next court dates were 11 February 1589, 3 March 1590, and Christmastide of 1590-91 (27 December and 16 February, on both occasions with Lord Strange's players). Four records document the presence of the Admiral's players at a London venue, certainly the Theater in one case. Two are government documents that mention the Admiral's players in the context of theatrical activity: 25 January 1587, in a complaint to Sir Francis Walsingham (Chambers, IV.303), and a report from the lord mayor on 6 November 1589 (Chambers, IV.305). Third is a letter from Philip Gawdy to his father dated 16 November 1587 that recounts an incident in a London playhouse in which the Admiral's players, acting out a scene in a play unnamed, tied a player to a post and fired at him with a weapon accidentally carrying live ammunition; the player was unharmed but members of the audience were wounded including a child and a pregnant woman who were killed. The fourth is testimony in one of the many lawsuits over finances at the Theater. John Alleyn testified that he had approached James Burbage for the company's back pay, and Burbage answered with insults. The date of this exchange is November 1590 (or May 1591).
Several extraordinary business decisions came to define the Admiral's players from 1587: the acquisition of the player, Edward Alleyn, from Worcester's company; and the acquisition of The Spanish Tragedy by Thomas Kyd and Tamburlaine the Great by Christopher Marlowe. Henceforward, Alleyn blossomed into a celebrity player on the strength of star roles in quality drama acquired by his company, including Marlowe's new plays. With Alleyn at this time were James Tunstall (Dunstall, Dunstone), Robert Browne, Richard Jones, and Edward's brother, John. By October 1592 Alleyn, still wearing the livery of the Lord Admiral, had joined Lord Strange's men. The company received a license to travel on 6 May 1593 (Chambers, IV.314).
At the Rose, 1594-1600
On 14 May 1594 the Admiral's men took up the lease of the Rose playhouse that they would not relinquish until late summer of 1600. There was a hiatus of ten days in June (3-13) when they joined the Chamberlains players at the playhouse in Newington, but by 15 June they were back at the Rose. The diary of Philip Henslowe, whose step-daughter Alleyn had married on 22 October 1592, tells the repertorial story of the Admiral's men at the Rose. It also provides a partial list of players on 14 December 1594 (Greg, I.5). These include Edward Alleyn, Jones, and Tunstall (as "donstone") from the 1587 company, plus John Singer, Thomas Towne. Martin Slater, Thomas Downton, and Edward Juby. In 1597 when the business at the Swan turned sour, five players from Pembroke's players transferred to the Admiral's men: William Bird (Borne), Robert Shaa, Gabriel Spencer, along with Jones and Downton, who had left for Pembroke's and now returned. A fuller list of players is available from the several plots that survive from company activity in 1597-1602.
At the Fortune, 1600-1604
The Fortune playhouse was built through the summer of 1600 and open for business by September.
Post-Elizabethan Company Identities and Venues
The Admiral's players because Prince Henry's company in 1604, and after the prince's premature death in November 1612 they became Prince Charles's company.
Scholarship on the Admiral's players is bountiful. The following is a minimal sample:
Plays associated with the Admiral's Men.
Pages in category "Admiral's"
The following 79 pages are in this category, out of 79 total.
- Fair Constance of Rome, Parts 1 and 2
- Fair Star of Antwerp
- Five Plays in One (Admiral's)
- Fortunatus, Part 1
- Fortune's Tennis, Part 2
- Four Sons of Aymon, The
- Frederick and Basilea
- Friar Fox and Gillian of Brentford
- Friar Rush and the Proud Woman of Antwerp
- Funeral of Richard Coeur de Lion, The