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The University of Southampton
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Research project: Early Modern London Theatres

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Both the text editing and website elements of the AHRC and British Academy-supported project on early London/Middlesex theatres were completed as promised.

The website element is ‘Early Modern London Theatres’ (EMLoT) www.emlot.kcl.ac.uk It was created collaboratively with the Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London, and the Records of Early English Drama, University of Toronto, and a large number of individual scholars.

EMLoT lets you see what direct use has been made, over the last four centuries, of pre-1642 documents related to professional performance in purpose-built theatres and other permanent structures in the London area. It is not a comprehensive collection of those pre-1642 documents; rather, it charts the copies (or ‘transcriptions’) which were subsequently made of them. It thus gives you access to the varied and long ‘after-life’ of those documents. It tells you who used them, and when, and where you can find evidence of that use. It also gives you some access to what was used, because it includes a brief account (or ‘abstract’) of the transcription’s contents, together with a reference to the location of the original document.

In the years since the data for the Middlesex Theatres was included, the website has been substantially extended by other scholars with additional data relating to early London theatres south of the Thames. From the start, the website has had an educational mission and its ’Learning Zone’ was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. This zone enables interested users to trace the documentary history and interpretation of the riots at the Cockpit Theatre in 1616/17. The enhanced website also has a new learning activity: ‘How to Track a Bear in Southwark’, which is a publically accessible, Omeka-based learning module, developed to showcase EMLoT’s Beargarden records, and to provide a forum for undergraduate and junior graduate students to acquaint themselves with the basic elements of early modern archival and bibliographic research. This was created by colleagues at the University of Toronto.

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