Edward Alleyn (as young man: apprentice and player)
As a young man, you follow your brother John into the playing industry, certainly performing with the Earl of Worcester’s Men by 1583 and touring the country.
While there is no formal apprenticeship structure for such a route through the playing industry (with many joining official livery companies in name but learning the acting trade in practice), your youth in some ways parallels the experience of training as a carpenter, attending university, or learning the law—you acquire very specific skills to advance in an industry that has increasing potential to be lucrative, along a formalised (if “unofficial”) apprenticeship structure.
Your brother not only led (and perhaps helped train) you, but modelled for you the entrepreneurial possibilities of the playing trade. By the late 1580s (as you perform with the Admiral’s Men) both John and you are investing in costumes, playbooks, and instruments to furnish your company.
These years indicate your growing “celebrity” in a nationally-touring troupe, under the patronage of a member of the Privy Council. It also indicates how training—albeit outside of the formal structures perhaps more readily associated with this group—can set individuals like you up for future investment opportunities.
You were paid £5 by Ipswich town in 1578, in which year you are described as “A poore yong man borne in the Towne […] come into debt at Cambridge.
By the 1590s, you were usher of the town’s Grammar School and from 1604 its headmaster.
Your time at Cambridge therefore indicates this moment when such a social progression is made possible (with the support of Town charity and likely work at the Unviersity).