In Tudor England groups of strolling players toured the country performing plays barns and in the courtyards of inns. One of the most popular subjects of these plays was the story of Robin Hood. The English government did not approve of strolling players as it feared that strolling players were responsible for spreading diseases such as the plague so in 1572 a law was passed banning strolling players from touring the country. The only actors allowed were those employed by noblemen. During the next two years, four noblemen were given permission to start their own theatre companies. However, actresses were not allowed to join; the parts of women had to be played by young boys.