Category:Secondhand plays

The venerable E. K. Chambers observed that the sums paid to playwrights in Philip Henslowe's Diary by the Admiral's men and Worcester's men for new plays, 1597-1603, "ranged from £4 to £10 10s" (The Elizabethan Stage, I.373). He thus concluded that "a fee of £6 may be taken as about normal" (I.373). Based on the £2 paid by the Admiral's men to Edward Alleyn for playbooks that were not new, it is reasonable to conclude that payments in Henslowe's Diary of 40s (£2) indicate the purchase of a secondhand play. Roslyn L. Knutson identifies nine such possibilities in "The Commercial Significance of the Payments for Playtexts in Henslowe's Diary, 1597-1603," Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England (1991): 117-63. All are now lost.

Another category of "secondhand" is plays that migrate from the repertory of one company to that of another. The two-part "Tamar Cham" plays are an example (Strange's, then Admiral's). Also, those plays in Henslowe's listings that appear for the first time not marked "ne" may have belonged to another company previously; or, as is possible for those in the repertory of Strange's men, such plays may have been acquired originally by them but are in mid-run by the time Henslowe starts to list performances in his memorandum book.