The Queen's Men was an Elizabethan playing company that operated between 1583 and 1595. It was a popular company and its patron was Queen Elizabeth I. Among its actors was the famous clown Richard Tarlton.
The Queen's Men appear to have been formed at the request of Francis Walsingham partially in order to regularize the London acting companies (Chambers, 2.104-5); it is also possible that the court wished to protect the most successful players from the hostility of city officials (Gurr, 32).
The actors for the Queen's Men were drawn from already-existing companies such as the Earl of Leicester's Men. They included, in addition to Tarleton, Robert Wilson and John Laneham (both from Leicester's Men), as well as John Dutton, John Bentley, and John Singer.
In 2006 there was a Shakespeare and the Queen's Men theatre project at the University of Toronto, with an accompanying conference, publications, and performance. The Performing the Queen's Men website was launched in 2008. It includes videos from SQM productions of King Leir, Famous Victories and Friar Bacon & Friar Bungay; interviews with actors; information about the history of the Queen's Men; and articles about the research-creation process.
- Edmund Kerchever Chambers. The Elizabethan Stage. Four Volumes. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1923.
- Andrew Gurr. The Shakespearean Stage, 1574-1642. 3rd edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992.
- McMillan, Scott and Sally-Beth MacLean. The Queen's Men and their Plays. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998, 2006.
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