The Plague and Puritans

  • 15 Jan 2012
  • Worcester People and Places
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In 1624, the King's Players were here twice; and in 1626, Lord Dudley's Players came. It was the practice for actors to range themselves under the name of powerful nobleman for the protection and benefits which that patronage gave. The greatest in the land were not ashamed to take a part on private occasions. Dean Edes, Dean of  Worcester from 1596 to 1601, was credited as the writer of tragedies, but none of his plays are now extant.

In 1631, 1632 and 1634, payments were made by the Corporation to the King's Players by Mr.Mayor's direccon to prevent their playinge in this city for fears of infeccon, 13s 4d. 1637 was the year when the plague brought the City to a standstill. In the years which followed few if any plays were performed. It was not only the fear of infection that kept the players out.There was a growing spirt of puritanism abroad. In the words of one contemporary, 'no true Puritan will endure to be present at plays'. Before long, English drama was to be ruthlessly trampled on and the players ceased to play. It was even made a penal offence to witness a stage performance.