The Swan was the second of the Bankside theatres. It was located at Paris Garden, west of Blackfriars Bridge. It was in use from 1595 and possibly staged some of the plays of William Shakespeare.

The Swan's location near Paris Garden stairs made it convenient for those crossing by river wherry from the City. It was opened by Francis Langley, probably due to the success of Philip Henslowe’s Rose very nearby. It continued to stage plays until its closure in about 1628 though far less is known about the playhouse than the Rose or the Globe.

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Narrative contexts

At the Swan on the 6th of November 1602 a certain Richard Vennar was meant to put on a play entitled England's Joy. However, in actuality Vennar disappeared with the takings from the crowd and it appears he had never intended to put on any kind of play on that day, by that title or any other.

Known owners

  • Francis Langley 11/1595 - 01/1602
  • Hugh Browker 01/1602 - 1606

Known occupants

  • Pembroke's Players 1597 - ?
  • Lady Elizabeth's Players 1613 - ?

A copy of de Witt's drawing of the Swan (Courtesy of Utrecht University)

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Hopton Street



National Grid Reference

531770 180430


Once on Bankside find your way south on to Hopton Street beyond the west side of Tate Modern, following Hopton Street all the way to Sampson House, near the original site of the Swan.