The name “Ur-Hamlet” was adopted by Frederick Samuel Boas from the German meaning ‘original', referring to a Hamlet play earlier than the well-known Shakespeare play of 1600.
Evidence for the existence of such a play appears in two important sources. Phillip Henslowe's Diary for Newington Butts has an entry for the performance of a Hamlet on 9 June 1594. Henslowe does not annotate the entry with “ne”, his code for new. This indicates that an early Hamlet was performed by the Lord Admiral's Men and the Lord Chamberlain's Men who were then resident at Newington Butts. A second reference comes from Thomas Lodge's Wit's Misery and the World's Madness of 1596. He wrote of “y…
Owens, Rebekah . "Ur-Hamlet". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 25 February 2008
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=23524, accessed 18 January 2017.]