Dates

1564 William Shakespeare was born.

1593 A severe outbreak of bubonic plague in London, public performances banned in London until December. Restrictions also in the summer of 1594. (ditto for 1603 and 04)

1594 A group of players known as The Lord Chamberlain's Men was formed. This wasa re-union of friends: several of the players are known to have been members of Strange's men between 1590 and 1592.

1595-6 A Midsummer Night's Dream was probably composed this winter, and first performed at the wedding of Elizabeth Carey and Thomas, son of Henry, Lord Burkeley on 19 February 1596. (Brooks 1983: lvi-lvii) Other critics have disagreed with the hypothesis that the play was first performed at a wedding. There is in any case little doubt that it was composed after the autumn of 1594 and there is certain evidence that it was known before 1598.

1597 A ban was issued on plays, but soon two companies were allowed to remain: The Lord Admiral's Men and the Lord Chamberlain's Men (Shakespeare's company) (ref. Thomson: 4-5). Until that, the companies toured outside London (Thomson 1983:14)

1599 The Globe was built [moved from the city, write more here]

1600 First quarto of A Midsummer Night's Dream. A good text. (Brooks 1983: xxii).

1603 Queen Elizabeth died in March. In May, King James I took over the Lord Chamberlain's Men and they became The King's Men. (Thomson 1983: 5)

1613 The Globe burned down – due to a spark from a stage cannon during the performance of Henry VIII – and was rebuilt immediately on the original foundations.

1616 Shakespeare died.

1619 Second quarto published. This is almost a page for page reprint of the first quarto, but there are several clear misprints.

1623 First folio published (the first collected works) at the initiative of two actors from Shakespeare's company: John Heminge and Henry Condell. Taken from the second quarto, so a third hand text, but amended with stage directions that must have their source in a theatre manuscript other than Shakespeare's foul papers.

1642 The Globe was closed by the Puritans.

1644 The Globe was pulled down to build tenements, and its foundations were buried.