Thomas Pope (actor)

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Thomas Pope (died 1603) was an Elizabethan actor, a member of the Lord Chamberlain's Men and a colleague of William Shakespeare. [1] Pope was a "comedian and acrobat." [2]

English Renaissance theatre theatre of England between 1562 and 1642

English Renaissance theatre—also known as Renaissance English theatre and Elizabethan theatre—refers to the theatre of England between 1562 and 1642.

Actor person who acts in a dramatic or comic production and works in film, television, theatre, or radio

An actor is a person who portrays a character in a performance. The actor performs "in the flesh" in the traditional medium of the theatre or in modern media such as film, radio, and television. The analogous Greek term is ὑποκριτής (hupokritḗs), literally "one who answers". The actor's interpretation of their role—the art of acting—pertains to the role played, whether based on a real person or fictional character. Interpretation occurs even when the actor is "playing themselves", as in some forms of experimental performance art.

The Lord Chamberlain's Men was a company of actors, or a "playing company" as it would have been known, for which Shakespeare wrote for most of his career. Richard Burbage played most of the lead roles, including Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth while Shakespeare himself performed some secondary roles. Formed at the end of a period of flux in the theatrical world of London, it had become, by 1603, one of the two leading companies of the city and was subsequently patronized by James I.



Nothing is known of Pope's early life. He was one of the English players who toured Denmark and Saxony in 158687, along with George Bryan, another future Chamberlain's man. He was in the production of The Seven Deadly Sins c. 1591, which was performed by a combination of personnel from Lord Strange's Men and the Admiral's Men, and which starred Edward Alleyn and included Bryan, Richard Burbage, Augustine Phillips, Richard Cowley, and John Sinklo, all soon-to-be Lord Chamberlain's Men. Pope toured with Lord Strange's Men under Edward Alleyn in 1593, with most of the same personnel.

<i>The Seven Deadly Sins</i> (play) play written by Richard Tarlton

The Seven Deadly Sins was a two-part play written c. 1585, attributed to Richard Tarlton, and most likely premiered by his company, Queen Elizabeth's Men. The play drew upon the medieval tradition of the morality play; though it was very popular in its time, no copy of either part has survived.

Lord Strange's Men was an Elizabethan playing company, comprising retainers of the household of Ferdinando Stanley, Lord Strange. They are best known in their final phase of activity in the late 1580s and early 1590s. After 25 September 1593, they were known as the Earl of Derby's Men, that being the date of Stanley's accession to his father's title.

The Admiral's Men was a playing company or troupe of actors in the Elizabethan and Stuart eras. It is generally considered the second most important acting troupe of English Renaissance theatre.


Pope was most likely an original member of the Lord Chamberlain's Men at their re-constitution in 1594, along with Shakespeare, Burbage, and the others. He was a figure of some significance in the early phase of the company's history, in that he and Heminges were the payees for their Court performances a responsibility that would have been given only to trusted members. Though no information has survived on his specific roles, it is thought that his physique and style most suited the comic character of stout, braggartly cowards, such as Falstaff and Sir Toby Belch, although he is also conjectured to have performed in dramatic roles, such as Mercutio and Shylock. He was also cast in the two Ben Jonson plays acted by the company in the late 1590s, Every Man in His Humour (1598) and Every Man Out of His Humour (1599). In 1599 he also became one of the original sharers in the new Globe Theatre. He was no longer part of the company when they became the King's Men in 1603; he might have been retired by then, and in fact died in that year. Like some other actors and members of his troupe (Shakespeare; Phillips), Pope lived in Southwark, near the theatres; he is thought to have remained unmarried.

This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1594.

Falstaff recurring character in several of Shakespeares history plays

Sir John Falstaff is a fictional character who is mentioned in four plays by William Shakespeare and appears on stage in three of them. His significance as a fully developed character in Shakespeare is primarily formed in the plays Henry IV, Part 1 and Part 2, where he is a companion to Prince Hal, the future King Henry V. A notable eulogy for Falstaff is presented in Act II, Scene III of Henry V, where Falstaff does not appear as a character on stage, as enacted by Mistress Quickly in terms that some scholars have ascribed to Plato's description of the death of Socrates after drinking hemlock. By comparison, in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Falstaff is presented by Shakespeare as the buffoonish suitor of two married women.

Sir Toby Belch character in Twelfth Night

Sir Toby Belch is a character in William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.

Post mortem

Pope's last will and testament was dated 22 July 1603 (and probated on 13 February 1604). He left legacies to two other actors, one of whom was Robert Gough, an actor with the Lord Chamberlain's Men who continued with the King's Men after 1603. The other was a John Edmans, or Edmonds. Pope left Gough and Edmans "all my wearing apparel, and all my arms, to be equally divided between them." [3] Pope also left his share in the Globe, and a share in the Curtain Theatre, to a Mary Clark; in 1612 the Globe share was owned by a John and Mary Edmans she, presumably, being the former Mary Clark.

Robert Gough, also Goughe or Goffe, was an English actor who took female parts in Shakespeare's plays. He was the father of actor Alexander Gough.

The King's Men was the acting company to which William Shakespeare (1564–1616) belonged for most of his career. Formerly known as The Lord Chamberlain's Men during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, they became The King's Men in 1603 when King James I ascended the throne and became the company's patron.

Curtain Theatre Elizabethan theatre in Shoreditch, now Hackney, London

The Curtain Theatre was an Elizabethan playhouse located in Hewett Street, Shoreditch, just outside the City of London. It opened in 1577, and continued staging plays until 1624.

The fact that Pope owned a share in the Curtain Theatre, where the Lord Chamberlain's Men had acted in the 159799 era, is significant for an understanding of an important facet of the development of English Renaissance theatre. [For the importance of the Curtain shares, see: John Underwood.]

John Underwood was an early 17th-century actor, a member of the King's Men, the theatrics company of William Shakespeare.

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  1. E. K. Chambers, The Elizabethan Stage, 4 Volumes, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1923; Vol. 2, pp. 334-5.
  2. F. E. Halliday, A Shakespeare Companion 15641964, Baltimore, Penguin, 1964; p. 382.
  3. Arthur F. Kinney, Shakespeare by Stages, London, Blackwell, 2003; p. 98.