I just discovered something utterly and absolutely wonderful: the University of Melbourne’s Lost Plays Database.
In the staff’s own words, it is…
a wiki-style forum for scholars to share information about lost plays in England, 1570-1642. Its purpose is to add lost plays to scholarly discussions of early modern theatrical activity. The editors believe that lost plays are a potential source of significant information on playwrights, playing companies, venues in London and the provinces, repertory studies, and audiences. The database provides a web-accessible, web-editable site for data on these plays concerning theatrical provenance, sources, genre, and authorship.
It is a real treasure trove of information, and something you browse at your own peril: you go there for a brief visit and seeking a specific detail – and come away hours later, dazzled and happy.
Amongst countless wonders, I found there Warburton’s list of the plays Mrs Baker burned in the stove… Oh, Mrs Baker! And, in truth, the list sounds almost too good to be true, doesn’t it? I’m afraid one has to wonder whether it wasn’t at the very least spiced up with some wishful listing…
And it strikes me that, in a way, the list, in its post-Betsy version, was after all a forerunner of the LPD… Happily, the LPD is safe from zealous, thrifty cooks.