Queen's Men Biographies - Actors in the 1583 Company

1. John Adams (fl. 1576-1588)

  • Joined the new Queen’s company in 1583; drawn from Sussex’s, to which he belonged in 1576. Still with Queen’s Men in 1588.
  • Jonson’s aged Stage-keeper in the Induction to Bartholomew Fair recalls once seeing the apparently agile Adams: “I kept the Stage in Master Tarletons time, I thanke my starres. Ho! an that man had liu’d to have play’d in Bartholomew Fayre, you should ha’ seene him ha’ come in, and ha’ been coozened i’ the Cloath-quarter, so finely! And Adams, the Rogue, ha’ leap’d and caper’d vpon him, and ha’ dealt his vermine about, as though they had cost him nothing. And then a substantiall watch to ha’ stolne in vpon ’hem, and taken ’hem away, with mistaking words, as the fashion is, in the Stage-practice.” (Q1631) One wonders if Adams’ shaking his “vermine” about (fleas/lice?) implies a shabby persona, rough about the edges?
  • Based on the similarily of his name, Nungezar speculates that he may have played the aggressive, clownish apprentice sometimes identified as “Adam” in A Looking-glass for London and England (Q1598) (Dictionary of Actors 1)