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Will Kemp

comic or fool in the plays of Shakespeare and Marlowe
in the Tudor era or Renaissance

Will Kemp was born in London, but his family is likely to be from Norfolk and Suffolk.

He was the comic in Lord Strange's Men, which was the top company of players. They had merged with the Admiral's Men.

Lord Strange's Men performed the Christopher Marlowe play The Jew of Malta at the Rose Theatre in London.
They also gave the first performance of The Massacre at Paris (also a Christopher Marlowe play).

Later some of the players from the company formed
the Lord Chamberlain's Men, and performed Shakespeare's plays.

Will Kemp was a shareholder in the Globe Theatre, where many of the Shakespeare plays were performed.
It seems he had a disagreement and left the company,selling his shareholding,
in 1599.

In 1600 he morris danced from London to Norwich, and when balladmongers
told lies or made up stories about his trip, he published his own version of it, which he called Kemps Nine Daies Wonder.

Kemps Nine Daies Wonder


1. Lord Strange was Ferdinando Stanley, the Earl of Derby.
In 1594, a year after Christopher Marlowe's alleged death,
Derby died of what he called witchcraft, probably a poisoning.
His brother became the next Earl.

2. The Globe was in Southwark, in London,
and a replica version has been built near the original place.
In fact there were two Globe Theatres in the Tudor era,
as the first one burnt down when a cannon was used during a performance
of the play Henry VIII.
A second version was built nearby.

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