Playing Companies and Commerce in Shakespeare's Time examines the nature of commercial relations among the theatre companies in London during the time of Shakespeare. Roslyn Knutson argues that the playing companies cooperated in the adoption of business practices that would enable the theatrical enterprise to flourish. Suggesting the guild as a model of economic cooperation, Knutson considers the networks of fellowship among players, the marketing strategies of the repertory, and company relationships with playwrights and members of the book trade. The book challenges two entrenched views about theatrical commerce: that companies engaged in cut-throat rivalry to drive one another out of business and that companies based business decisions on the personal and professional quarrels of the players and dramatists with whom they worked. This important contribution to theatre history will be of interest to scholars as well as historians.

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