Along with the Fortune, the Red Bull was one of the so-called citizen outside playhouses.

This was located at what is now Haywards Place (previously Red Bull Yard), which runs between St John’s Street (where the site can be accessed through a brick archway) and Woodbridge Street, Clerkenwell. The Red Bull opened in 1604 and staged plays through to the 1642 closure (the building actually stood until 1661 in the second year of the Restoration of monarchy). Plays put on here included John Webster’s The White Devil, as well as numerous plays staged by Queen Anna's Men in the Jacobean period.

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Narrative contexts

That Red Bull and Fortune audiences were becoming receptive only to certain kinds of drama is perhaps evident from the fact that John Webster’s The White Devil (1612) was poorly received at the Red Bull. In the printed edition of the play Webster made it clear he felt the playhouse had been an inappropriate setting for the premiere of his darkly sophisticated revenge tragedy. It is often noted that in 1614 his The Duchess of Malfi was launched by the King’s Men at the far more exclusive Blackfriars indoor playhouse.

Known owners

  • Aaron Holland 12/1604 - 06/11/1623

Known lease-holders

  • Thomas Woodford 06/1612 - ?

Known occupants

  • Queen Anna's Men 1605 - 1617
  • Prince Charles's Men 1617 - 1619
  • Queen Anna's Men 1619 - 1623
  • Prince Charles's Men 1623 - 1625
  • The Red Bull Company 1625 - 1634
  • Prince Charles's Men (2) 1634 - 1640
  • The Red Bull Company 1640 - 1642

Playing at the Red Bull (Courtesy of the V&A)

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Haywards Place



National Grid Reference

531668 182289


From the Barbican Underground Station turn left and left again into Carthusian Street, go along Charterhouse Street, turn right into St John’s Street and then fork left into St John’s Lane. Walk through St John’s Gate, cross Clerkenwell Road into St John’s Square and passing the Church of St John walk along Jerusalem Passage onto Aylesbury Street. Turn right, walk along Aylesbury Street, turning left into Woodbridge Street, then right into Haywards Place, the site of the Red Bull.