Ambrose Dudley, earl of Warwick (1561-1590) and brother of Robert Dudley (earl of Leicester), was patron of a playing company in 1559-64, and again in 1572-5. Both configurations were active in the provinces, and both appeared at court.
The earlier of the companies was formed before Ambrose received the earldom. Under the name of Lord Dudley's players, the company performed at Gloucester, Bristol, Norwich, Cambridge, and Bridgwater ([REED PP), as well as Canterbury (MSC VII. 13) and Winchester (Murray I.289). As the Earl of Warwick's players, the company performed at Grimsby (MSC VIII. 14), Oxford (8 June 1562), Lydd, Exeter, Plymouth, and Grimsthorpe (REED PP); their venues were usually guild or common halls, but at Grimsthorpe they performed the hall at Grimsthorpe Castle (1562). Stops along the southeastern circuit included Dover and Lydd in addition to Canterbury (MSC VII. 43, 107, 13). The company gave two performances at court during Christmas, 1564-5.
The later company had a much lighter touring schedule, 1572-5. It performed at Tavistock (Devon) and Coventry; its venue at Tavistock was St. Eustachius' Church (REED PP). It also visited Leicester in 1574-5 and Lichfield on 27 July 1575 (Murray I.290), as well as Grimsby in 1575-6 (MSC VIII. 16). Queen Elizabeth was on progress in the summer of 1575, and the earl of Warwick was in attendance; his players "played before the queen in Lichfield at the beginning of August" (Ingram, Business 141). In comparison with the earlier company, this one appeared frequently at court: 14 Feb 1574-5; 26 Dec, 1 Jan, and 6 March, 1575-6; 26 Dec and 18 Feb, 1576-7; 28 Dec, 6 Jan, and 9 Feb, 1577-8; 26 Dec and 1 March, 1578-9; and 1 Jan 1580 (Chambers IV. 91-97). Furthermore, the Revels Accounts name five of their plays, all now lost: The Painter's Daughter, The Irish Knight, The Three Sisters of Mantua, The Knight in the Burning Rock, and A History of the Four Sons of Fabius. In 1575-6 the payees for the company at court were John Dutton, his brother Lawrence Dutton, and Jerome Savage. Their stories with the company include the playhouse at Newington.
Jerome Savage and the Playhouse at Newington
Jerome Savage was "the leader of Warwick's" players in 1575 (Ingram, Business 141). This leadership is most manifest in his involvement with the business end of the playhouse at Newington. In 1576 Savage had lodgings on the property where the playhouse would (or already did) stand. He financed its building "out of his own resources" (Ingram, Business 180), a most remarkable and perhaps unique circumstance at the time (as James Burbage would use his brother-in-law's financial resources). In 1577 Savage was sued by the owners of the property over his lease, and they used boilerplate prejudicial language about Savage and the theatrical profession to enhance their case, calling Savage "'a verrie lewed fealowe and liveth by noe other trade then playinge of staige plaies and Interlevdes'" (qtd in Ingram, Business 168). Nonetheless, Savage and his company continued to perform at the Newington playhouse until 1580, at which time Warwick's players broke up (Ingram, Business 174). Savage subsequently disappeared from theatrical records, but his will on 30 Jan 1587 indicates that he had moved to London with his family; he was buried in St. Peter Westcheap. For further details on Savage's family and finances, see Ingram, Business 178-9.
The Dutton Brothers
John and Lawrence (also "Laurence") Dutton were veteran players when they joined Savage in Warwick's troupe. One, if not both, had been with Sir Robert Lane's men in 1571-2 and the earl of Lincoln's men until they joined Warwick's in 1575. They stayed until 1580 (or so it seems), then left to form a new company, the earl of Oxford's players (Ingram, Business 171). During this time the brothers had a presence in London. A brothel keeper complained to the governors of Bridewell Hospital that one of his women had been taken by Lawrence to "one Horspoll at the Bell beyond Shorditche chirche"; he added that "there is two bretherenn and by reporte both their wyves are whores" (Ingram, Business 140). The Duttons (at least Lawrence) were notorious as knaves in business and personal behavior in a profession generally but falsely notorious for knavery. Nonetheless, John Dutton joined the Queen's players in 1583 at their inception, and Lawrence was a member by 1589. For further details of the brothers, see Ingram, "Laurence Dutton," and Nungezer.
Ingram, William. The Business of Playing: The Beginnings of the Adult Professional Theater in Elizabethan London. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1992.
—— "Laurence Dutton, Stage Player: Missing and Presumed Lost," Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England 14 (2001): 122-42.
Malone Society Collections II.3. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1907.
Malone Society Collections VII. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1965.
Malone Society Collections VIII. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1972.
Malone Society Collections XI. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980-1.
Murray, John Tucker. English Dramatic Companies 1558-1642. 2 vols. 1910, New York: Russell & Russell, 1963. Vol. I
Nungezer, Edwin. A Dictionary of Actors. New York: Greenwood Press, 1929.