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Georgian/Regency - Theatre

An Evening at the Theater

A typical evening at a London theater began at six and lasted at least three hours. The program began with music played by the theater's orchestra from the time the doors opened at four or five, followed by a prologue and then a full-length play. An afterpiece, usually a pantomime, farce, or comic opera, completed the evening. The intervals between acts were filled with variety acts, which ranged from singing, dancing, magic tricks, acrobatics, through trained animals.

The Georgian Index

Georgian Theatre Research Resources

The "New Plays" data base (over 530 pages) attempts to document over 2,600 new plays on the London stage during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries (1700-1810). All material ©2006 by William J. Burling.

The "Daily Calendar" data base (over 630 pages) attempts to provide basic documentation for every daily performance at five major London theatres during 1800-1810: Drury Lane, Covent Garden, the King's Opera House, the Theatre Royal Haymarket, and the Lyceum. Details include date, venue, play titles, designation of premieres, authorship of new plays, box office receipts (if available), and occasional miscellaneous comments (but not casting information, except for a very limited number of performances). Please note that the calendar for the King's Opera House is still incomplete, especially for 1806-1810. All material © 2006 by William J. Burling.


Richard Brinsley Sheridan

Sheridan was educated at Harrow School, and was to study law. However, his highly romantic elopement with Elizabeth Linley (daughter of Thomas Linley), and their subsequent marriage in 1773, put paid to such hopes. When he returned to London, he began writing for the stage. His first play, The Rivals, produced at Covent Garden in 1775, was a failure on its first night. Sheridan cast a more capable actor for the role of the comic Irishman for its second performance, and it was a smash which immediately established the young playwright's reputation. It has gone on to become a standard of English literature.


Oliver Goldsmith

AFTER a course at Trinity College, Dublin, made miserable by his personal ungainliness and bad manners, Oliver Goldsmith was on the point of emigrating to America. If he had not missed his ship, high school students might not find in their course of prescribed reading such literary gems as The Deserted Village or The Vicar of Wakefield, nor play lovers enjoy the absurdities of his dramatic masterpiece, She Stoops to Conquer.

Theatre History

Theatre Illustrations

Links to various illustrations of British theatre



Jamacia AOS - maxi

June 2008

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