The Introduction of Admission Fees in London: Fencing Prizes, Bearbaiting Arenas, and Speculative Origins

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.12745/et.24.2.4177

Keywords:

fencing, bearbaiting, medieval performance, admission fees, sixteenth-century English theatre, David Kathman, economics of playing

Abstract

Medieval performers gathered coins during a show from people assembled to see them. By 1570, performers throughout London collected admission fees before a show as a condition of entry. When, how, and by whom were admission fees introduced? Based on the research of David Kathman, I argue that travelling players brought the admission fee system to London in the late 1530s, after which animal baiting entrepreneurs and the fencing brotherhood adopted and refined it. In conclusion, this essay offers a speculative origin for the admission fee system in the practice of shrine keeping.

Author Biography

Oliver W. Gerland III, University of Colorado Boulder

Oliver W. Gerland III (gerland@colorado.edu) is an associate professor of theatre and a faculty affiliate of the humanities program at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Published

2021-12-17

Issue

Section

Articles