< Theatre Notebook

Vol. 67, No. 1

2013

Articles

  1. Searching for Thomas Harris: Challenges Faced by His First Biographer

    Warren Oakley

    Thomas Harris, the principal proprietor and manager of Covent Garden theatre between 1774 and 1820, shaped the cultural landscape of Georgian London. Even more significant is the period covered by Harris’s connection to the Garden, stretching back to his purchase of the theatre along with three other investors in the summer of 1767, giving him a longer involvement in the management of a patent theatre than anyone else in the long eighteenth century, including John Rich. For two decades, Harris had also possessed both of the royal patents that allowed the performance of scripted drama in the metropolis, one for the Garden and the other for Drury Lane theatre. As the monarch of performance, he controlled the Garden’s hugely powerful space with its impact upon popular attitudes as the world was made and remade upon his stage.

  2. The Simpson Players of Jacobean Yorkshire and the Professional Stage

    Siobhan Keenan

    The Simpson players of Jacobean Yorkshire, led by recusant shoemakers Robert and Christopher Simpson, are known to early modern and Shakespearean scholars for two things in particular. Firstly, they are alleged to have staged an anti-Protestant interlude at Gowthwaite Hall, the Yorkshire home of Sir John Yorke, during the Christmas holidays, 1609-10; the interlude was reportedly part of their performance of a saint’s play called St. Christopher. Secondly, the company is alleged to have performed “Perocles, prince of Tire, And [ . . . ] King Lere” at the same Hall around Candlemas 1610 (Star Chamber MS 8/19/10 mb. 30). Scholars have usually identified these plays with those of the same name by Shakespeare, printed in 1609 and 1608, respectively (although the ‘Lere’ could have been the earlier, anonymous King Leir, printed in 1605).

  3. Joan Littlewood And The De-Mystification Of Acting

    Roger Grainger

    This paper has been prompted by the current revival of interest in Joan Littlewood’s ‘Theatre Workshop’ which flourished in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s (Littlewood; Goorney; Leach; Holdsworth). Having been a member of her company in the late 1950s, I have always been interested, and felt involved, in anything which concerns Joan herself; and, being an actor, I share the occupational concern for everything to do with actors and their actuality, that is, as distinct from the image they carry in the eyes of the public ­ although I realise that the two things are not entirely separate from each other. I mean by this that an actor’s own view of him- or herself is greatly affected by other people’s attitudes. Obviously, this is true of all professions, jobs or trades. However, it is notably the case with actors, whose milieu calls for a higher level of self-consciousness, conscious self-consciousness that is.

  4. A. P. Herbert's Helen (and every marriage since 1937)

    C. W. Marshall Jacques

    Offenbach’s operetta La belle Hélène was adapted into English by A. P. Herbert (1890-1971) for production in London in 1932. This paper situates the production of Helen in terms of Herbert’s thought and the stage practices at the time, and suggests that, however indirectly, the femme fatale of Greek literature has helped changed the nature of marriage in modern English Common Law. While the play could be approached within a rubric of adaptation and translation theory, instead it is hoped that by situating it here within its historical context, the unexpected resonances with Herbert’s advocacy for social change will bring new light to this forgotten work that describes the abduction of Helen from Menelaus by Paris, thereby inaugurating the Trojan War.

BOOK REVIEWS

Ellen Terry, Spheres of Influence

Katharine Cockin (ed)

Performing Herself: Autobiography and Fanny Kelly's Dramatic Recollections

Gilli Bush-Bailey

Costuming The Shakespearean Stage: Visual Codes of Representation in Early Modern Theatre and Culture

Robert I. Lublin

The Censorship of British Drama 1900-1968, Volume Three: The Fifties

Steve Nicholson

Searching for Thomas Harris: Challenges Faced by His First Biographer –§– The Simpson Players of Jacobean Yorkshire and the Professional Stage –§– Joan Littlewood And The De-Mystification Of Acting –§– A. P. Herbert’s Helen (and every marriage since 1937)

Want a discount? Become a member!

Out of Print: email theatrenotebook@str.org.uk to enquire about photocopies.