How much did Shakespeare earn?

In the XVII century the theatrical profession brought large income to become rich largely managed entrepreneurs. The sources allow us to know how many pounds was paid for a play by Shakespeare and colleagues and how much they can buy of sparrows and barrels of beer.

The authors of the late XVI - early XVII century, received the play from four to ten pounds. Average per play paid six pounds.

In this case, selling the play to the theatre, the author lost her all sorts of rights and was not able to publish independently.

After the death of Shakespeare plays rose and theaters could pay for them to 20 pounds. Then there was the practice, when the playwright got the entire collection from one of the first performances of his play. But in most cases the entrepreneur has to pay the author an agreed amount. In other cases he gave the company money to purchase pieces and props. The Manager got half of the input collection from the galleries of the theatre, and the actors are divided between the second half and collected from the ground.

According to historian T. W. Baldwin, the minimum earnings of the actor in the year was about ten pounds, and the maximum is about 25. Shakespeare, even without being a shareholder of the theatre, presumably, had annual earnings of about 15 pounds as an actor and got about ten pounds as the fee for two pieces.

In the records of the theatrical entrepreneur Philip Hensel is a contract concluded with one of the actors of the troupe by Robert Daws for three years: according to the "contract" Dawes was obliged "to attend all the rehearsals that will take place before the public the play"; for every delay he paid a fine of 12 pence, and for failure to appear - two shillings. If he "won't be dressed for the show" - a fine of three shillings; if "would be drunk in a time when it needs to play", fined ten shillings; if you fail to appear on the show without a good reason - a fine of 20 shillings.

The prices of the end of XVI - early XVII century:

  • A barrel of strong beer - 7 shillings

  • 13 sparrows - 9 pence

  • A barrel of white herring - 23 shillings and 4 pence

  • 35 dozen eggs 2 pounds 3 shillings and 9 pence

  • Good goose - 4 pence

  • Chicken - 2 pence

  • Beef - 1/2 pence

  • The salary of a craftsman is about 6 pence a day,

  • The salary of a laborer is about 3 pence

  • The title of Baron - 1080 pounds

(1 pound sterling = 20 shillings, 1 shilling = 12 pence).