famous London theatre in which after 1599 the plays of William Shakespeare were performed.
Early in 1599 Shakespeare, who had been acting with the Lord Chamberlain's Men since 1594, paid into the coffers of the company a sum of money amounting to 12.5 percent of the cost of building the Globe. He did so as a chief shareholder in the company, and by doing so he helped to establish a uniquely successful form of commercial operation for the actors of the time. This investment gave Shakespeare and the other leading actors both a share in the company's profits and a share in their playhouse.
At this time, officially approved playhouses and officially approved acting companies had been in existence in London for only five years. The Lord Chamberlain's Men was one of only two companies licensed to perform within the London city limits. (For more on this subject, see Sidebar: Shakespeare and the Liberties.) The other company used the Rose playhouse, owned by an impresario and his ex-actor son-in-law.