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Why did Britons get up a play wherever they went? Kathleen Wilson reveals how the performance of English theater and a theatricalized way of viewing the world shaped the geopolitics and culture of empire in the long eighteenth century. Ranging across the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans to encompass London, Kingston and Calcutta, Fort Marlborough in Sumatra, St. Helena and Port Jackson in New South Wales as well as London and provincial towns, she shows how Britons on the move transformed peripheries into historical stages where alternative collectivities were enacted, imagined and lived. Men and women of various ethnicities, classes and legal statuses produced and performed English theater in the world, helping to consolidate a national and imperial culture. The theater of empire also enabled non-British people to adapt or interpret English cultural tradition through their own performances, as Englishness became also a production of non-English peoples across the globe.
Colley Cibber was one of the most derided men in eighteenth-century London. Mocked for his work in the theatre and as Poet Laureate, he was nevertheless a prolific actor and playwright, and co-managed the Theatre Royal Drury Lane for 24 years. His response to his critics, An Apology for the Life of Mr Colley Cibber, is often described as the first theatrical autobiography, and even as the first secular autobiography in English. But what kind of text is it – intimate confession or cunning pose? History of the stage or political polemic? Rambling or purposeful? Or perhaps, even, the first celebrity memoir? Including comprehensive notes and a detailed scholarly introduction, this modernised text makes Cibber's enigmatic literary landmark accessible to a wide readership for the first time and allows both specialists and general readers to explore Cibber's extraordinary career against the rich, turbulent background of London theatre in the eighteenth century.
Ric Knowles' study is a politically urgent, erudite intervention into the ecology of theatre and performance festivals in an international context. Since the 1990s there has been an exponential increase in the number and type of festivals taking place around the world. Events that used merely to be events are now 'festivalized': structured, marketed, and promoted in ways that stress urban centres as tourist destinations and “creative cities” as targets of corporate enterprise. Ric Knowles examines the structure, content, and impact of international festivals that draw upon and represent multiple cultures and the roles they play in one of the most urgent processes of our times: intercultural negotiation and exchange. Covering a vast geographical sweep and exploring festival models both new and ancient, the work sets compelling new standards of practice for post-pandemic festivals.
Tom Stoppard's work as a playwright and screenwriter has always been notable for mixing ideas with entertainment. From the early success of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead to masterpieces like Arcadia, from radio plays about modern art to the Oscar-winning screenplay for Shakespeare in Love, Stoppard has challenged and delighted audiences with the intellectual and cultural richness of his writing. Tom Stoppard in Context provides multiple perspectives on both the life and works of one of the most important modern playwrights. This collection covers biographical and historical topics, as well as the broad array of intellectual, aesthetic, and political concerns with which Stoppard has engaged. More than thirty essays on subjects ranging from science to screenwriting help illuminate Stoppard's rich body of work.
Great art is about emotion. In the eighteenth century, and especially for the English stage, critics developed a sensitivity to both the passions of a performance and what they called the transitions between those passions. It was these pivotal transitions, scripted by authors and executed by actors, that could make King Lear beautiful, Hamlet terrifying, Archer hilarious and Zara electrifying. James Harriman-Smith recovers a lost way of appreciating theatre as a set of transitions that produce simultaneously iconic and dynamic spectacles; fascinating moments when anything seems possible. Offering fresh readings and interpretations of Shakespearean and eighteenth-century tragedy, historical acting theory and early character criticism, this volume demonstrates how a concern with transition binds drama to everything, from lyric poetry and Newtonian science, to fine art and sceptical enquiry into the nature of the self.
Music, Dance, and Drama in Early Modern English Schools is the first book to systematically analyze the role that the performing arts played in English schools after the Reformation. Although the material record is riddled with gaps, Amanda Eubanks Winkler sheds light on the subject through an innovative methodology that combines rigorous archival research with phenomenological and performance studies approaches. She organizes her study around a series of performance-based questions that demonstrate how the schoolroom intersected with the church, the court, the domicile, the concert room, and the professional theater, which allows her to provide fresh perspectives on well-known canonical operas performed by children, as well as lesser-known works. Eubanks Winkler also interrogates the notion that performance is ephemeral, as she considers how scores and playtexts serve as a conduit between past and present, and demonstrates the ways in which pedagogical performance is passed down through embodied praxis.
Hamlet is a characteristic intellectual more inclined to lecture actors about their craft than listen to them, and is a precursor of Enlightenment figures like Diderot and Lessing. This book is a quest for the voice of early professional actors, drawing on English, French and other European sources to distinguish the methods of professionals from the theories of intellectual amateurs. David Wiles challenges the orthodoxy that all serious discussion of acting began with Stanislavski, and outlines the comprehensive but fluid classical system of acting which was for some three hundred years its predecessor. He reveals premodern acting as a branch of rhetoric, which took from antiquity a vocabulary for conversations about the relationship of mind and body, inside and outside, voice and movement. Wiles demonstrates that Roman rhetoric provided the bones of both a resilient theatrical system and a physical art that retains its relevance for the post-Stanislavskian performer.
In this ground-breaking work, Bridget Orr shows that popular eighteenth-century theatre was about much more than fashion, manners and party politics. Using the theatre as a means of circulating and publicizing radical Enlightenment ideas, many plays made passionate arguments for religious and cultural toleration, and voiced protests against imperial invasion and forced conversion of indigenous peoples by colonial Europeans. Irish and labouring-class dramatists wrote plays, often set in the countryside, attacking social and political hierarchy in Britain itself. Another crucial but as yet unexplored aspect of early eighteenth-century theatre is its connection to freemasonry. Freemasons were pervasive as actors, managers, prompters, scene-painters, dancers and musicians, with their own lodges, benefit performances and particular audiences. In addition to promoting the Enlightened agenda of toleration and cosmopolitanism, freemason dramatists invented the new genre of domestic tragedy, a genre that criticized the effects of commercial and colonial capitalism.
Between 1895 and 1922 the Anglo-American actor and manager, Maurice E. Bandmann (1872–1922) created a theatrical circuit that extended from Gibraltar to Tokyo and included regular tours to the West Indies and South America. With headquarters in Calcutta and Cairo and companies listed on the Indian stock exchange, his operations represent a significant shift towards the globalization of theatre. This study focuses on seven key areas: family networks; the business of theatrical touring; the politics of locality; repertoire and publics; an ethnography of itinerant acting; legal disputes and the provision of theatrical infrastructure. It draws on global and transnational history, network theory and analysis as well as in-depth archival research to provide a new approach to studying theatre in the age of empire.
What happens when an actor owns shares in the stage on which he performs and the newspapers that review his performances? Celebrity that lasts over 240 years. From 1741, David Garrick dominated the London theatre world as the progenitor of a new 'natural' style of acting. From 1747 to 1776, he was a part-owner and manager of Drury Lane, controlling most aspects of the theatre's life. In a spectacular foreshadowing of today's media convergences, he also owned shares in papers including the St James's Chronicle and the Public Advertiser, which advertised and reviewed Drury Lane's theatrical productions. This book explores the nearly inconceivable level of cultural power generated by Garrick's entrepreneurial manufacture and mediation of his own celebrity. Using new technologies and extensive archival research, this book uncovers fresh material concerning Garrick's ownership and manipulation of the media, offering timely reflections for theatre history and media studies.
Presenting the first exploration of Christopher Marlowe's complex place in the canon, this collection reads Marlowe's work against an extensive backdrop of repertory, publication, transmission, and reception. Wide-ranging and thoughtful chapters consider Marlowe's deliberate engagements with the stage and print culture, the agents and methods involved in the transmission of his work, and his cultural reception in the light of repertory and print evidence. With contributions from major international scholars, the volume considers all of Marlowe's oeuvre, offering illuminating approaches to his extended animation in theatre and print, from the putative theatrical debut of Tamburlaine in 1587 to the most current editions of his work.
In the nineteenth century, copyright law expanded to include performances of theatrical and musical works. These laws transformed how people made and consumed performances. Exploring precedent-setting litigation on both sides of the Atlantic, this book traces how courts developed definitions of theater and music to suit new performance rights laws. From Gilbert and Sullivan battling to protect The Mikado to Augustin Daly petitioning to control his spectacular 'railroad scene', artists worked with courts to refine vague legal language into clear, functional theories of drama, music, and performance. Through cases that ensnared figures including Lord Byron, Laura Keene, and Dion Boucicault, this book discovers how the law theorized central aspects of performance including embodiment, affect, audience response, and the relationship between scripts and performances. This history reveals how the advent of performance rights reshaped how we value performance both as an artistic medium and as property.
In the first comprehensive study of how Shakespeare designed his plays to suit his playing company, Brett Gamboa demonstrates how Shakespeare turned his limitations to creative advantage, and how doubling roles suited his unique sense of the dramatic. By attending closely to their dramaturgical structures, Gamboa analyses casting requirements for the plays Shakespeare wrote for the company between 1594 and 1610, and describes how using the embedded casting patterns can enhance their thematic and theatrical potential. Drawing on historical records, dramatic theory, and contemporary performance this innovative work questions received ideas about early modern staging and provides scholars and contemporary theatre practitioners with a valuable guide to understanding how casting can help facilitate audience engagement. Supported by an appendix of speculative doubling charts for plays, illustrations, and online resources, this is a major contribution to the understanding of Shakespeare's dramatic craft.
“Staging Memory and Materiality in Eighteenth-Century Theatrical Biography” examines theatrical biography as a nascent genre in eighteenth-century England. This study specifically focuses on Thomas Davies’ 1780 memoir of David Garrick as the first moment of mastery in the genre’s history, the three-way war for the right to tell Charles Macklin’s story at the turn of the century and James Boaden’s theatrical biography spree in the 1820s and 1830s, including the lives of John Philip Kemble, Sarah Siddons, Dorothy Jordan and Elizabeth Inchbald. This project investigates the extent to which biographers envisioned themselves as artists, inheriting the anxiety of impermanence and correlating fear of competition that plagued their thespian subjects. It traces a suggestive, but not determinative, outline of generic development, noting the shifting generic features that emerge in context of a given work’s predecessors. Drawing heavily on primary sources, then-contemporary reviews and archival material in the form of extra-illustrated or “scrapbooked’’ editions of the biographies, this text is invested in the ways that the increasing emphasis on materiality was designed to consolidate, but often challenged, the biographer’s authority. This turn to materiality also authorized readerly participation, allowing the form of extra-illustrated or “co-author” biographies through the use of material insertions, asserting their own presence in the texts about beloved thespians.
This book begins with a simple observation - that just as the theatre resurfaced during the late Renaissance, so too government as we understand it today also began to appear. Their mutually entwining history was to have a profound influence on the development of the modern British stage. This volume proposes a new reading of theatre's relation to the public sphere. Employing a series of historical case studies drawn from the London theatre, Tony Fisher shows why the stage was of such great concern to government by offering close readings of well-known religious, moral, political, economic and legal disputes over the role, purpose and function of the stage in the 'well-ordered society'. In framing these disputes in relation to what Michel Foucault called the emerging 'art of government', this book draws out - for the first time - a full genealogy of the governmental 'discourse on the theatre'.
What did childhood mean in early modern England? To answer this question, this book examines two key contemporary institutions: the school and the stage. The rise of grammar schools and universities, and of the professional stage featuring boy actors, reflect the culture's massive investment in children. In this collection, an international group of well-respected scholars examines how the representation of children by major playwrights and poets reflected the period's educational and cultural values. This book contains chapters that range from Shakespeare and Ben Jonson to the contemporary plays of Tom Stoppard, and that explore childhood in relation to classical humanism, medicine, art, and psychology, revealing how early modern performance and educational practices produced attitudes to childhood that still resonate to this day.
This innovative exploration of the recurring use of particular objects in Samuel Beckett's work is the first study of the material imagination of any single modern author. Across five decades of aesthetic and formal experimentation in fiction, drama, poetry and film, Beckett made substantial use of only fourteen objects - well-worn not only where they appear within his works but also in terms of their recurrence throughout his creative corpus. In this volume, Bates offers a striking reappraisal of Beckett's writing, with a focus on the changing functions and impact of this set of objects, and charts, chronologically and across media, the pattern of Beckett's distinctive authorial procedure. The volume's identification of the creative praxis that emerges as an 'art of salvage' offers an integrated way of understanding Beckett's writing, opens up new approaches to his work, and offers a fresh assessment of his importance and relevance today.
This is the first book on British theatre historiography. It traces the practice of theatre history from its origins in the Restoration to its emergence as an academic discipline in the early twentieth century. In this compelling revisionist study, Richard Schoch reclaims the deep history of British theatre history, valorizing the usually overlooked scholarship undertaken by antiquarians, booksellers, bibliographers, journalists and theatrical insiders, none of whom considered themselves to be professional historians. Drawing together deep archival research, close readings of historical texts from the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and an awareness of contemporary debates about disciplinary practice, Schoch overturns received interpretations of British theatre historiography and shows that the practice - and the diverse practitioners - of theatre history were far more complicated and far more sophisticated than we had realised. His book is a landmark contribution to how theatre historians today can understand their own history.