Identifying a Troupe of Italian Players in England in 1574
Keywords:Italians, commedia dell'arte, Elizabeth, Rye, Dover, Valentine Dale, manuscript letter, Windsor, Reading, touring performers, women actors
This note identifies a previously unknown document in the Rye archive of the East Sussex Record Office. The document is a letter of safe passage for a group of twelve Italian men and women written by the English ambassador to France, Valentine Dale, in June 1574. Based on the names and other details Dale provides in the letter, this note argues that the group was a troupe of Italian performers touring to England — most likely the same troupe that entertained Queen Elizabeth at Windsor and Reading in July 1574 and the people of Dover in September or October 1574.
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