Leicester's Men



  • England's first household company of actors, founded in 1559under the patronage of the Earl of Leicester. The company includedthe carpenter and actor James Burbage, who in 1576 builtthe Theatre, London's first purpose-built playhouse, andthe comedian William Kempe. Leicester's Men performed in Burbage'sTheatre and received royal support until 1583, when the rival QueenElizabeth's Men was founded and poached some of their bestactors. On the Earl's death in 1588 the company merged with Strange'sMen.