< Theatre Notebook
Vol. 72, No. 2
The West End Theatre Comes to Hampshire: Richard Norton (1667-1732) of Southwick Park, Landowner and Man of the Theatre
Public Theatre in Eighteenth-Century Hampshire
Public theatre in Hampshire during the late seventeenth and for much of the eighteenth century was provided by travelling players. They rigged temporary stages in barns, inns, and in any other locations where they hoped they might attract an audience. Permission from the local mayor and magistrates prior to their performance was not always forthcoming, and opposition could be provided by local traders, the church, and townsfolk. There were no patent theatres in Hampshire, but more permanent accommodation for theatre productions began to appear towards the end of the eighteenth century. Theatre outside of London had been threatened by the Theatre Licensing Act of 1737 introduced following the discovery by Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole (1676-1745) that his cabinet was being lampooned. His aim was to prohibit all theatre performances outside of two licensed London theatres, the Theatre Royal and Covent Garden (Ranger, “The Rivals” 219-20).
Theatre, Celebrity, and Contagion: David Garrick's 1742 Dublin Visit and James R. Planché's Garrick Fever
In the unusually hot summer of 1742, Irish playgoers flocked to see David Garrick, the rising star of the London stage, tread the boards of Dublin’s Theatre Royal in Smock Alley. On his way to becoming the most famous actor of his century, Garrick treated his audience to a new role that he would play to packed audiences for decades to come, Shakespeare’s Prince Hamlet. In return, Dublin gave him both his permanent moniker of the “English Roscius” and a potent anecdote that mythologised his impact on theatrical audiences: Garrick fever. By all accounts, Dublin society’s unbridled enthusiasm for the young English thespian transformed his first visit to Ireland into a significant medical as well as cultural event. Garrick’s popularity apparently hastened the spread of “an epidemic fever in Dublin – on account of the crowded audiences at the theatre” (Murphy 1: 34). This temporally and geographically specific illness, also dubbed Garrick fever, was conflated with the fervour stirred by Garrick’s reputation and presence.
Touchstone: A Forgotten Theatrical Newspaper
Frederick Balsir Chatterton was one of the most important theatre managers in London in the mid-Victorian period. At different times he was responsible for the management of the Lyceum, the St James’s, the Adelphi and the Princess’s, but he is chiefly remembered as the lessee of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, from 1866 to 1879. He had also been effectively in charge of Drury Lane from 1862 to 1866, where his title was acting manager and the lessee was his partner Edmund Falconer, since Falconer’s alcoholism meant that he had very little to do with running the theatre.
Chatterton was not an actor manager, like Charles Kean or Henry Irving, nor was he a playwright manager like the George Colmans, father and son: he was a manager pure and simple. He wanted to stage plays, not write or star in them. One of the characteristics of his managerial style was the extensive use of newspaper advertising to promote shows. All West End theatres inserted the details of that night’s performance in the theatre listings of The Times and other papers, but The Times also ran classified advertisements above or beside the listings which managers could use to give additional details of their offerings. Chatterton realised that these classified advertisements could give his product the edge over that of his rivals and he used them to a greater extent than other managers.
Commedia dell'Arte in Context
Christopher B. Balme, Piermario Vescovo and Daniele Vianello (eds.)
Culture, Democracy and the Right to Make Art: The British Community Arts Movement
Alison Jeffers & Gerri Moriarty (eds.)
British Theatre Companies: 1965-1979
John Bull (ed.)
The West End Theatre Comes to Hampshire: Richard Norton (1667-1732) of Southwick Park, Landowner and Man of the Theatre *** Theatre, Celebrity, and Contagion: David Garrick’s 1742 Dublin Visit and James R. Planché’s Garrick Fever *** Touchstone: A Forgotten Theatrical Newspaper.