Summer Theatre in London, 1661-1820, and the Rise of the Haymarket Theatre

Summer Theatre in London, 1661-1820, and the Rise of the Haymarket Theatre

Summer Theatre in London, 1661-1820, and the Rise of the Haymarket Theatre

Summer Theatre in London, 1661-1820, and the Rise of the Haymarket Theatre

Synopsis

A biography of the actor who starred in the popular television series, Family Ties, as well as in a number of motion pictures and who recently announced that he has Parkinson's disease.

Excerpt

The history of the theatre companies, and ultimately of drama, in London during the eighteenth century is quintessentially a series of episodes best described as ongoing experimental strategies for establishing commercial profitability. the theatre companies endlessly struggled to identify the most attractive plays and other entertainments, to build, equip, and maintain the most elegant and flexible physical facilities, and to recruit, train, and retain the most talented personnel. They likewise regularly reorganized their internal business affairs in pursuit of the optimal system of operations regarding the size of the performance company and support personnel, salaries, returns to investors, upkeep on property and equipment, and other urgent financial matters. These factors have been well studied in respect to the Drury Lane and Lincoln’s Inn Fields (later Covent Garden) companies, but far less is known concerning the Little Theatre in the Haymarket. the Haymarket Theatre was the third and last of the “theatres royal” prior to the rescinding of the theatrical monopolies in 1843. As the following chapters hope to demonstrate, especially after 1737, the rise of the Haymarket Theatre first parallels and then encompasses the history of the emergence of a special market niche in the London theatrical community, summer theatre.

This study thus presents detailed analyses of several key epochs of summer theatre history in London from the late seventeenth to the early nineteenth centuries. I choose summer theatre history for several reasons. First, unlike theatre affairs for the regular seasons, no full-length study of summer theatre operations as such exists. As four months of each theatrical year for much of the one hundred and sixty years under consideration here featured some sort of summer season, including the premieres of many plays and the introduction to the stage of a number of important authors and performers, the subject is a rich one deserving of study in its own historical right. in fact, by 1766 and for more than three decades afterward, the most profitable theatre in London was the Little Haymarket, and these profits were made . . .

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