By Neil Carson
Henslowe's 'diary' is a special resource of data in regards to the day by day working of the Elizabethan repertory theatre. Philip Henslowe, a theatrical entrepreneur, saved files of his monetary dealings with London businesses and actors from 1592-1604. The diary itself is tough to decipher. Neil Carson's research relies on a way more thorough correlation of Henslowe's entries than has been tried ahead of, breaking down into transparent tabular shape the most goods of source of revenue and expenditure and drawing conclusions concerning the administration tactics of the corporations, the pro relationships of actors and playwrights and the ways that performs have been written, rehearsed and programmed. earlier hypothesis has brushed off Henslowe himself as ignorant, disorderly and greedy. Carson indicates him to were a benign and effective businessman whose keep an eye on over the actors' specialist actions used to be less large than has usually been meant.
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Extra info for A Companion to Henslowe's Diary
Perhaps the new Admiral's-Pembroke's Men insisted on a new method of gathering and dividing the receipts. But what that method was we cannot say. Not unlikely, the players began collecting the money from the outer doors themselves, and possibly turned over one-half of their gallery takings to Henslowe to be held in trust for some now indeterminable purpose. The accounts with the Admiral's Men cease when the Company moved to the Fortune where Alleyn (as part owner) probably took over the responsibilities of dealing with the players.
Certainly there is no suggestion that he was guilty of usury, and there is no contemporary allusion to such a charge ever being brought against him. 3 • THE PLAYERS A Henslowe's diary entries were made for very limited purposes, and attempts to arrive at deductions of a sweeping kind necessitate a certain amount of correlation and inference. Nowhere is the process of analysis more delicate than when applied to questions of theatrical management. For on many important matters, such as the division of administrative authority, the methods of making and enforcing decisions, or the procedures by which a script was transferred to the stage, the diary is ambiguous or silent.
If we assume that the first two columns represent the actors' half gallery income (which Henslowe continued to record, but in this novel form), then perhaps the second three columns represent the outer door takings (less whatever the players needed to pay current production expenses). I suspect that this system reveals an increasing reliance on the part of the Admiral's Men on the services of Henslowe as treasurer and banker. When Alleyn retired and the Pembroke's actors joined the Company (fresh from their painful experiences with Langley), there was perhaps less willingness on the part of the newly formed company to trust Henslowe with the handling of so much of their income and the five-column system was abandoned.
A Companion to Henslowe's Diary by Neil Carson