By Jane Milling, Peter Thomson, Joseph Donohue, Baz Kershaw
This quantity explores the wealthy and complicated histories of English, Scottish and Welsh theatres within the 'long' 20th century on account that 1895. Twenty-three unique essays through top historians and critics examine the main facets of theatrical functionality. the gathering provides an exhilarating evolution within the scholarly research of recent British theatre background, skilfully demonstrating how functionality variously turned a serious litmus attempt for the nice aesthetic, cultural, social, political and monetary upheavals within the age of extremes.
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Extra info for The Cambridge History of British Theatre (Volume 3)
The financial, artistic and social rewards could be great. With so much power in the hands of a single figure the practice was clearly open to trade abuse, though the abuse was probably not greater than in other areas of Victorian life regulated by private or family-run commerce. Historical views of the actor-manager have been heavily influenced by the disdainful approach taken by modernist reformers, who believed that far too much of the life of a theatre was dedicated to the ego of the owner.
Barker’s subsequent career was not so fortunate. Between 1908 and 1915 he set up a series of managements with his actress wife, Lillah McCarthy, attempting to extend the Court principles. His ambition was to establish a permanent London company that would stage the best contemporary and older plays in repertory: a national theatre. But this could be accomplished only with substantial and regular subsidy, since it was eminently clear that an art theatre, a theatre including the ‘New Drama’, was not going to pay its way – just as in Dublin or Paris or Moscow.
George Alexander (1858–1918) and Wilson Barrett (1846–1904) were opposites in thought and effect and entirely successful at what they did. Alexander started acting with Henry Irving at the Lyceum in 1881 and a decade later took over the St James’s Theatre, which he ran with flair for over a quarter of a century, until his death. The St James’s was admired by smart society in part because of its location in the fashionable section of Piccadilly but chiefly because its manager made his leading spectators feel as comfortable as in their own drawing-rooms.
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