The London Stage 1800-1900

Project Description:

The London Stage 1800-1900 will address fundamental questions in the study of 19th-century theatrical practice, focusing on five key themes: nationalism and cosmopolitanism in English Opera; adaptation and authorship in words and music; institutional and economic history of theatre; the roles of women on and off stage; and performance issues, including the study of dance. Responding to a substantial body of empirical data from ‘major’ and ‘minor’ venues, the project will seek to understand how theatres functioned as creative and economic institutions within a rapidly expanding and industrialising urban environment. This ‘big picture’ analysis of city-wide networks and medium to long-term changes constitutes a re-framing of 19th-century theatre studies in terms of contexts and competition rather than thresholds and turning points.

At the heart of the project is a calendar of performances designed to generate reports almost instantaneously, facilitating the team’s individual research areas: adaptation and translation, for example, can be studied by analysing the number and type of continental dramas imported to specific theatres; and a century’s worth of ticket prices sorted according to repertoire and venue will enhance greatly the understanding of theatre economics.