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Life in early modern Southwark

May 18 @ 10:00 am - 4:00 pm


A day of talks about Edward Alleyn, Philip Henslowe and their world

Southwark Cathedral celebrates some of the history associated with St Saviours, as the cathedral used to be known. Discover the lives of Philip Henslowe, manager of the Rose Theatre, and Edward Alleyn, famous actor and founder of Dulwich College which celebrates its 400th anniversary this year. The school set up by parisioners of St Saviours church is also being examined.


The Southwark Grammar Schools of St. Saviour and St. Olave: The Early Years – A talk by Professor Alan H Nelson

Two of Southwark’s parishes founded grammar schools in the early years of Elizabeth I: St. Saviour’s and St. Olave’s. Starting with a brief overview of the two foundations, Professor Nelson discusses newly-discovered episodes from the early histories of both schools, including their Elizabethan charters, and comments on a “missing” book of orders.


The Very Theatrical Careers of Philip Henslowe and Edward Alleyn in Southwark – A talk by Professor Grace Ioppolo

This talk uses the original 16th- and 17th-century documents of Philip Henslowe and Edward Alleyn to chart their extraordinary careers as late 16th- and early 17th-century theatre entrepreneurs, property developers and businessmen, reaching from the streets of Southwark to the courts of Queen Elizabeth I and King James I. Included among the documents are the partnership deed to build the Rose Playhouse, the contract for the Fortune Playhouse, a petition from local Thames ferrymen, numerous royal patents, and records of Alleyn’s distinguished career as one of the two finest actors of the age.


Southwark, Bankside, Henslowe, Alleyn and theatre – A Talk by Julian Bowsher

We begin with the relationship between Southwark, Surrey and the City of London – as it reflects the concentration of ‘entertainment’ on Bankside. From medieval times, the brothels probably created the poor reputation of the area – though they were closed down by Shakespeare’s time. Then there was bear baiting and finally (to cap it all) the playhouses – also considered evil. Bankside was one of London’s great theatrical centres. We look at the Rose (1587), the Swan (1595) the Globe (1599) and the Hope of 1613. We have heard of Henslowe and Alleyn but the likes of Marlowe, Shakespeare and Jonson as well as numerous actors, costumiers, property makers and many others involved in the theatrical ‘industry’ lived in the area. For 70-odd years Bankside was a crowded, thriving, competitive community – with a pastoral care provided by St Saviours church.


Edward Alleyn on Bankside – A Talk by Calista Lucy

Dulwich College manuscript IX is a diary or account book kept by Edward Alleyn between 1617-1622. It is full of the most fascinating, if cryptic, detail of his life in the early years of his Foundation at Dulwich. Together with other manuscripts and muniments held in the Archive at Dulwich College, this talk paints a picture of this man who would have been well known on Bankside.

More speakers to be confirmed.

At the Cathedral Library, Southwark Cathedral, London Bridge, London SE1 9DA

Tickets £10 / £8.50 concessions – Ticket holders can attend all the talks on the day.

Further information at Eventbrite


May 18
10:00 am - 4:00 pm


Southwark Cathedral


Southwark Cathedral
London Bridge
London, SE1 9DA United Kingdom
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