Henry Condell

Henry Condell

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Henry Condell was an actor in the King's Men
King's Men (playing company)
The King's Men was the company of actors to which William Shakespeare belonged through most of his career. Formerly known as The Lord Chamberlain's Men during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, it became The King's Men in 1603 when King James ascended the throne and became the company's patron.The...

, the playing company for which William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

 wrote. With John Heminges
John Heminges
John Heminges was an English Renaissance actor. Most noted now as one of the editors of William Shakespeare's 1623 First Folio, Heminges served in his time as an actor and financial manager for the King's Men.-Life:Heminges was born in Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire in 1556...

, he was instrumental in preparing the First Folio
First Folio
Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies. is the 1623 published collection of William Shakespeare's plays. Modern scholars commonly refer to it as the First Folio....

, the collected plays of Shakespeare, published in 1623.

Condell's early life is obscure. It appears that he may have been born in 1576 in East Anglia
East Anglia
East Anglia is a traditional name for a region of eastern England, named after an ancient Anglo-Saxon kingdom, the Kingdom of the East Angles. The Angles took their name from their homeland Angeln, in northern Germany. East Anglia initially consisted of Norfolk and Suffolk, but upon the marriage of...

, as his will mentions family in New Buckenham
New Buckenham
New Buckenham is a civil parish in the English county of Norfolk.It covers an area of and had a population of 468 in 197 households as of the 2001 census. For the purposes of local government, it falls within the district of Breckland....

. Traditionally, he is associated with the "Harry" who appears in the cast list for Richard Tarlton
Richard Tarlton
Richard Tarlton , an English actor, was the most famous clown of his era.His birthplace is unknown, but reports of over a century later give it as Condover in Shropshire, with a later move to Ilford in Essex...

's The Seven Deadly Sins
The Seven Deadly Sins (play)
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...

, but this identification is little more than conjecture. If the connection is true, then Condell was an actor as early as 1590, acting in Lord Strange's Men
Lord Strange's Men
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...

 alongside Heminges and Augustine Phillips
Augustine Phillips
Augustine Phillips was an Elizabethan actor who performed in troupes with Edward Alleyn and William Shakespeare. He was one of the first generation of English actors to achieve wealth and a degree of social status by means of his trade....

. Condell was definitely in London by 1596, when he married Elizabeth Smart, a gentleman's daughter. They settled in St Mary Aldermanbury
St Mary Aldermanbury
St Mary Aldermanbury church in the City of London, is first mentioned in 1181 but was destroyed by the Great fire of London in 1666. Rebuilt in Portland stone by Sir Christopher Wren, it was again gutted by the Blitz in 1940, leaving only the walls...

, the parish in which Heminges lived. Condell, like Heminges, served as churchwarden
Churchwarden
A churchwarden is a lay official in a parish church or congregation of the Anglican Communion, usually working as a part-time volunteer. Holders of these positions are ex officio members of the parish board, usually called a vestry, parish council, parochial church council, or in the case of a...

 in that church. He and Elizabeth baptized nine children, of whom only three survived to adulthood.

Details of his mature life are, as is usual for Renaissance actors, few. His status within the Lord Chamberlain's
Lord Chamberlain's Men
The Lord Chamberlain's Men was a playing company for whom Shakespeare worked for most of his career. 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 patronised by James I.It was...

 and King's
King's Men (playing company)
The King's Men was the company of actors to which William Shakespeare belonged through most of his career. Formerly known as The Lord Chamberlain's Men during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, it became The King's Men in 1603 when King James ascended the throne and became the company's patron.The...

 companies appears to have been high; in official communications he is generally listed shortly after Burbage
Richard Burbage
Richard Burbage was an English actor and theatre owner. He was the younger brother of Cuthbert Burbage. They were both actors in drama....

 and Heminges. Actors' wills indicate that he was close to at least some of his colleagues in the company. Shakespeare and Phillips bequeathed him money for mourning rings; Nicholas Tooley
Nicholas Tooley
Nicholas Tooley was a Renaissance actor in the King's Men, the acting company of William Shakespeare.Recent research has shown that Tooley was born in late 1582 or early 1583; his birth name was not Tooley but Wilkinson...

 and Alexander Cooke
Alexander Cooke
Alexander Cooke was an actor in the King's Men, the acting company of William Shakespeare and Richard Burbage.Edmond Malone introduced the hypothesis, still current though far from certain, that Cooke originated Shakespeare's principal female roles...

 named him as trustee for their estates. Condell prospered enough in his profession to purchase a country home at Fulham
Fulham
Fulham is an area of southwest London in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, SW6 located south west of Charing Cross. It lies on the left bank of the Thames, between Putney and Chelsea. The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London...

 in Middlesex
Middlesex
Middlesex is one of the historic counties of England and the second smallest by area. The low-lying county contained the wealthy and politically independent City of London on its southern boundary and was dominated by it from a very early time...

.

In addition to Every Man in His Humour
Every Man in His Humour
Every Man in His Humour is a 1598 play by the English playwright Ben Jonson. The play belongs to the subgenre of the "humours comedy," in which each major character is dominated by an overriding humour or obsession.-Performance and Publication:...

(1598) and Every Man Out of His Humour
Every Man Out of His Humour
Every Man out of His Humour is a satirical comedy written by English playwright Ben Jonson, acted in 1599 by the Lord Chamberlain's Men. It is a conceptual sequel to his 1598 comedy Every Man in His Humour...

(1599), Condell is known to have performed in four more of Jonson's
Ben Jonson
Benjamin Jonson was an English Renaissance dramatist, poet and actor. A contemporary of William Shakespeare, he is best known for his satirical plays, particularly Volpone, The Alchemist, and Bartholomew Fair, which are considered his best, and his lyric poems...

 plays: Sejanus
Sejanus (play)
Sejanus His Fall, a 1603 play by Ben Jonson, is a tragedy about Lucius Aelius Seianus, the favorite of the Roman emperor Tiberius. It was possibly an allegory of James I and his corrupt court....

(1603), Volpone
Volpone
Volpone is a comedy by Ben Jonson first produced in 1606, drawing on elements of city comedy, black comedy and beast fable...

(1605), The Alchemist
The Alchemist (play)
The Alchemist is a comedy by English playwright Ben Jonson. First performed in 1610 by the King's Men, it is generally considered Jonson's best and most characteristic comedy; Samuel Taylor Coleridge claimed that it had one of the three most perfect plots in literature...

(1610), and Catiline (1611). He was the original Cardinal in John Webster
John Webster
John Webster was an English Jacobean dramatist best known for his tragedies The White Devil and The Duchess of Malfi, which are often regarded as masterpieces of the early 17th-century English stage. He was a contemporary of William Shakespeare.- Biography :Webster's life is obscure, and the dates...

's The Duchess of Malfi
The Duchess of Malfi
The Duchess of Malfi is a macabre, tragic play written by the English dramatist John Webster in 1612–13. It was first performed privately at the Blackfriars Theatre, then before a more general audience at The Globe, in 1613-14...

(c. 1613). And he was listed in eight of the cast lists that were added to the second Beaumont and Fletcher folio
Beaumont and Fletcher folios
The Beaumont and Fletcher folios were two large folio collections of the stage plays of John Fletcher and his collaborators. The first was issued in 1647, and the second in 1679. The two collections were important in preserving many works of English Renaissance drama.-The first folio, 1647:The 1647...

 of 1679
1679 in literature
This article lists some of the most significant events of the year 1679 in literature.-Events:*John Locke returns to England from France.*Étienne Baluze becomes almoner to King Louis XIV of France....

:
  • Bonduca
    Bonduca
    Bonduca is a Jacobean tragi-comedy in the Beaumont and Fletcher canon, generally judged by scholars to be the work of John Fletcher alone. It was acted by the King's Men c. 1613, and published in 1647 in the first Beaumont and Fletcher folio....

  • The Captain
    The Captain (play)
    The Captain is the title of a Jacobean era stage play, a comedy written by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher. It was originally published in the first Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1647.-Performance and publication:...

  • The Humorous Lieutenant
    The Humorous Lieutenant
    The Humorous Lieutenant, also known as The Noble Enemies or Demetrius and Enanthe, is a Jacobean era stage play, a tragicomedy written by John Fletcher...

  • The Knight of Malta
    The Knight of Malta
    The Knight of Malta is a Jacobean era stage play, a tragicomedy in the canon of John Fletcher and his collaborators. It was initially published in the first Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1647.-Date and source:...


  • The Loyal Subject
    The Loyal Subject
    The Loyal Subject is a Jacobean era stage play, a tragicomedy by John Fletcher that was originally published in the first Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1647.-Performance:...

  • The Mad Lover
    The Mad Lover
    The Mad Lover is a Jacobean era stage play, a tragicomedy by John Fletcher that was initially published in the first Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1647....

  • The Queen of Corinth
    The Queen of Corinth
    The Queen of Corinth is a Jacobean era stage play, a tragicomedy in the canon of John Fletcher and his collaborators. It was initially published in the first Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1647.-Date:...

  • Valentinian
    Valentinian (play)
    Valentinian is a Jacobean era stage play, a revenge tragedy written by John Fletcher was that originally published in the first Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1647. The play dramatizes the story of Valentinian III, one of the last of the Roman Emperors, as recorded by the classical historian...


Condell appears to have ended his stage career around 1619. He signed his last will and testament on December 13, 1627; he was buried on December 29 of the same year. He left an abundant estate, including shares in the Globe
Globe Theatre
The Globe Theatre was a theatre in London associated with William Shakespeare. It was built in 1599 by Shakespeare's playing company, the Lord Chamberlain's Men, and was destroyed by fire on 29 June 1613...

 and Blackfriars Theatre
Blackfriars Theatre
Blackfriars Theatre was the name of a theatre in the Blackfriars district of the City of London during the Renaissance. The theatre began as a venue for child actors associated with the Queen's chapel choirs; in this function, the theatre hosted some of the most innovative drama of Elizabeth and...

s.

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