Word of the Week: Scrivener

This week’s word of the week is ‘scrivener’. An Elizabethan word referring to a scribe or notary, it’s inspired by R.E. Pritchard’s book ‘Shakespeare’s England: Life in Elizabethan & Jacobean Times’.

Pritchard’s book is an intriguing and fascinating collection of excerpts from some of the best, wittiest and most unusual writing of Shakespeare’s age.  A ‘scrivener’ is mentioned in the chapter on Education, in which Pritchard reveals ‘writing was usually taught by peripatetic scriveners’.

It is brought to you from the Shakespeare-inspired Books About Town bench outside the Globe.

Word of the week: ‘Scrivener’ (n.); ‘A clerk, scribe, or notary’

Voiced by Alison Jordan

Alison is the Globe Education Assistant for Learning.

Psst! Farinelli and the King casting


We’re delighted to announce that Mark Rylance will star as Philippe V, King of Spain in Claire van Kampen’s new play with music, Farinelli and the King, premiering in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in February 2015. The role of the castrato Farinelli will be sung by celebrated countertenors Iestyn Davies and William Purefoy.

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Shakespeare Outside In

PhD Researcher Neil Vallelly reflects on the ‘Globe Outside In’ performances in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse…

From 1609—after Richard Burbage took possession of the indoor Blackfriars playhouse—the King’s Men performed all year round: Globe in the summer; Blackfriars during the winter. Consequently, much of their repertory crossed the divide (or the Thames, more precisely) between outdoor and in. Jonson’s ‘Catiline’, for instance, was first performed at the Globe, then Blackfriars in 1611. Webster’s ‘The Duchess of Malfi’ was originally performed at the Blackfriars, before moving outdoors to the Globe in 1614. The first Shakespeare play to cross the river may have been ‘Coriolanus’ in 1608, but ‘Cymbeline’(1609), ‘The Winter’s Tale’ (1610), and ‘Henry VIII’(1612-13) were seemingly performed at both the Globe and Blackfriars. How, then, did the transitions from outside to in, and vice versa, affect dramatists, playing companies, and the composition of plays in early modern London?

A section from Hollar’s Long View of London From Bankside (1647) showing the Globe and Blackfriars.

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