The Globe is known because of William Shakespeare’s (1564–1616) involvement in it. In the 1590s an outbreak of the plague prompted authorities to close London theaters. At the time Shakespeare was a member of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, an acting company. With other members of the troupe, he helped finance the building of the Globe (on the banks of the Thames River), which opened in 1599 as a summer playhouse. Plays at the Globe, then outside of London proper, drew good crowds, and the Lord Chamberlain’s Men also gave numerous command performances at court for King James. By the turn of the century, Shakespeare was considered London’s most popular playwright, and by 1603 the acting group, whose summer home was the Globe Theatre, was known as the King’s Men.