Birth of a Tragedy Queen: Richard Robinson and the Repertory of the King's Men, 1610-11




Boy actors; training; repertory; enskillment


In his 2004 essay, ‘The Sharer and His Boy’, Scott McMillin hypothesized that what he called ‘restricted roles’ in early modern English drama, roles in which female characters take cue lines only from a small group of other characters, resulted from moments when new leading boy actors were being trained by their masters. This essay applies McMillin's hypothesis to two new plays that entered the King’s Men’s repertory around 1610, Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale and Beaumont and Fletcher’s The Maid’s Tragedy, asking how they might have interacted with earlier plays within the company’s repertory to shape the training of Richard Robinson as its new leading tragic boy. 

Author Biography

Roberta Barker, Dalhousie University

Roberta Barker ( is associate professor of theatre in the Fountain School of Performing Arts at Dalhousie University.





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