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1893 text

The Cockpit Theatre, situated in Drury Lane, was occupied as a playhouse in the reign of James I. It was occupied by Davenant and his company in 1658, and they remained in it until. November 15th, 1660, when they removed to Salisbury Court.

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

3 Annotations

First Reading

steve h  •  Link

The Cockpit was builtin 1609, one of the first indoor theatres, and was sometimes called the Phoenix. It was used steadily by a theatre company up until the Commonwealth. In 1659, there was a company acting there, but we know little about it except for its proprietor being fined.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

Cockpit or Phoenix Theatre, in Drury Lane, stood in the parish of St. Giles-in-the-Fields, on the site of Cockpit Place or Alley, afterwards named Pitt Place, and is said by Prynne to have demoralised the whole of Drury Lane. The performances appear to have been of a low class.

Volpone. The bells, in time of pestilence, ne'er made
Like noise, or were in that perpetual motion!
The Cock-pit comes not near it.
Ben Jonson's Volpone, Act iii. Sc. 6.

In 1660 a company of players, under Rhodes, acted here until Killigrew and Herbert managed to suppress them. Charles II. had authorised two companies of players, and two only—one under Killigrew, called the King's Servants; and one under Davenant, called the Duke's. Rhodes's players (Mohun, Hart, etc.) joined Killigrew; and Davenant's newly-formed company, with Betterton in its ranks, began to act in the Cockpit Theatre, vacated by Rhodes. Here they continued till they removed, in 1662, to their new theatre in Portugal Row, Lincoln's-Inn Fields.
---London, Past and Present. H.B. Wheatley, 1891.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.