What, my young lady and mistress?

What must it have been like to be one of the boys in the company? To grow up the butt of jokes, to be called young lady by Princes, to have extraordinary text written for you but know that everything you learn now must be cast aside when your voice changes? Did the boys in the company become men in the company when they grew up? Did they “Graduate” from Juliet to Hotspur? Or were they cast off to join other professions? What was the career trajectory? Were little boys brought in to be the boys in Macbeth or Winter’s Tale or trained to be girls right from the start?

Maybe from boy to fairy to teenage girl? And once the transformation began did it continue off stage?
Did boy players behave and dress as girls offstage, too? Hamlet would appear be greeting a boy as a girl here (that, is, assuming that Shakespeare is meaning for us to see the gender of the player who is actually playing the character and not expecting us to imagine that Danish players are co-ed when English players were not.) So curious.

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