Although women were notably absent from the English Renaissance stage they were involved in theatrical economics in a variety of different ways-as spectators, patrons, and as gatherers of entrance fees at the playhouse doors. But even more surprisingly, perhaps, they held economic interests in several playhouses. When James Burbage built the Theatre in 1576 he relied on his brother-in-law, John Brayne, for financial backing. At Brayne’s death, ten years later, part of this loan was still outstanding, and so Brayne’s widow, Margaret, became an investor somewhat by default. In attempting to recover her husband’s assets she was ultimately forced into a lawsuit against Burbage claiming that she held an assignment of the moiety of the lease by inheritance. The court upheld that an earlier arbitrament should be honored, but when Widow Brayne sent a collector to the Theatre to stand at the galleries and gather half of the fees for her, he was refused entrance. Finally, Burbage’s refusals led to a confrontation during which James Burbage and his wife called Margaret a whore and threatened that at any subsequent fray she and her supporters would be met with pistols ‘charged with powder and hempseed to shoot them in the legs.’ At her death in 1593 the conflict had not been settled.1 Yet Margaret Brayne’s situation was not as unusual as it would seem. Several other women of the period, also widows, either inherited theatrical investments or sought them out.