'Players' in Context
Determining Performance in Medieval Accountancy Records
Keywords:Medieval and early modern drama, performance, accounts
Arguably the largest source of REED material of their kind so far collected, the accounts of Durham’s medieval monastic community provide evidence for plays, music, and performers from around the palatinate, including payments to istriones, joculatores, and ministralli performing for various occasions. With accountancy material, however, it can be difficult deciding if individual entries represent evidence of performers or performances per se, or what the nature of any performance might have been. This essay examines these issues in Durham’s accountancy records, looking particularly at Finchale Priory’s so-called ‘playerchambre’: instances in which evidence of ‘performance’ is uncertain and/or only determinable by wider consideration of context.
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