Shows of Joy and Malice
Performance, the Star Chamber, and the Celebration of James I’s Coronation in Norwich in 1603
The spread of the plague in Norwich in July 1603 disrupted the city’s celebrations of the coronation of King James I, and precipitated a conflict between the city’s mayor, Thomas Lane, and the alderman Robert Gibson, which culminated in Gibson taking Lane to the Star Chamber. Drawing on previously unexamined legal and civic documents, this essay reconstructs both Norwich’s planned and actual coronation festivities and their role in the dispute in July, including its longer legal aftermath in court. The essay examines the meanings and functions participants attributed to the celebrations in Norwich, and to what extent they can be understood as performances, and, if so, of what.
Contributors to Early Theatre retain full copyright to their content. All published authors are required to grant a limited exclusive license to the journal. According to the terms of this license, authors agree that for one year following publication in Early Theatre, they will not publish their submission elsewhere in the same form, in any language, without the consent of the journal, and without acknowledgment of its initial publication in the journal thereafter.