The Hope was the last outside theatre to be built and the first to have a dual purpose (playing and bear-baiting).
It was located at Bankside, Bear Gardens and staged various plays, including Ben Jonson’s Bartholomew Fair. The Hope opened in 1614, seemingly set up by Philip Henslowe and Edward Alleyn to compete with the newly constructed second Globe in the Jacobean period. However, the idea of an auditorium sharing playing and bear-baiting does not appear to have been successful for too long.
One striking image we have of the problems faced at the Hope, owing to its dual-purpose design as bear arena and theatre, comes to us in the printed edition of Ben Jonson’s Bartholomew Fair, performed there by the Lady Elizabeth’s Men in 1614, and in which Jonson makes it very clear that he was not happy with the new venue as a setting. The play's Induction contains the following reference to the Hope:
'The play shall presently begin. And though the fair be not kept in the same region that some here, perhaps, would have it, yet think that therein the author hath observed a special decorum, the place being as dirty as Smithfield and as stinking every whit.'
- Philip Henslowe 29/08/1613 - 06/01/1616
- Edward Alleyn 29/08/1613 - 25/11/1626
- Lady Elizabeth's Players 1614 - 1615
- Prince Charles's Men 1615 - 1617