The Seven Deadly Sins and Theatrical Apprenticeship

  • David Kathman Independent scholar
Keywords: theatre history, apprentices, Andrew Gurr, plots, Seven Deadly Sins,


The manuscript 'plot' of the play The Second Part of the Seven Deadly Sins is a valuable document for theatre historians, but its date and company have been a matter of dispute. It was long thought to originate with Strange's Men in the early 1590s, but David Kathman argued in a 2004 article, using a variety of evidence including apprenticeship records, that it is actually from the Lord Chamberlain's Men in 1597-98. Andrew Gurr argued for the traditional date in his 2007 article 'The Work of Elizabethan Plotters and 2 Seven Deadly Sins', challenging the relevance of Kathman's new evidence and claiming that his redating of the plot results in various problems. However, Gurr's rebuttal is itself marred by errors and faulty reasoning, and does nothing to weaken Kathman's argument. In particular, Gurr's claims about London apprentices are refuted by a wide array of documentary evidence.