Robert DawesRobert Dawes (fl. 1610–1614) was an English actor of the Jacobean era. He is unique in the extant records of English Renaissance theatre, in that his individual employment contract with one of his acting companies has survived.
Dawes was an early and perhaps an original member and "sharer" (a partner who shared in the profits, rather than a hired man who worked for a wage) with Prince Charles's Men, from at least 1610 on. He remained with that company only until 1614, however, when he left for the Lady Elizabeth's Men. Dawes was admitted as a sharer in the Lady Elizabeth's troupe; his personal 3-year contract with managers Philip Henslowe and Jacob Meade, dated 7 April of that year, spells out a schedule of graduated penalties for minor and major infractions of the rules:
(As a comparison, William Shakespeare paid £60 for New Place, the largest house in Stratford-upon-Avon, in 1597.)
Since no other comparable contract for an actor of the period exists, scholars cannot be certain that the Dawes document is representative. Yet there is nothing in Dawes's career that suggests he was particularly unusual, so that his contract was probably within the range of what was normal and typical for the actors of the period.