This book is the first to examine early Tudor theatre specifically from the perspective of the great households of England. The aristocrats of the sixteenth century commissioned, funded, and staged complex and often lavish entertainments for their households including plays, masques, concerts, dances, and sports. These thematically and stylistically unified revels, watched by guests and retainers, were designed to swell the social and artistic reputation of the patron and to communicate his ideology - in fact to delight the eye and ear while selectively educating the mind and soul. Theatre became for the nobleman a means to secure loyalty, a loyalty that both reflected and reinforced his political power. Important both as a collection of primary source documents and for its detailed examination of them, Patrons and Performance first considers the evolution, theatrical talents, duties and privileges, and techniques of retained performers, including Chapel Children and Gentlemen, minstrels, playwrights, and players. It then proceeds to a discussion of the interlude and of how the unique relationship between nobleman and artist affects the play's characters, theme, and structures.