10. The Georgian Playhouses of Hampshire 1730-1830

10. The Georgian Playhouses of Hampshire 1730-1830
Hampshire Papers 10: The Georgian Playhouses of Hampshire 1730-1830
by Paul Ranger (1996)

This paper tells the story of the theatre managers and companies working in Hampshire in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and describes the development of the theatres in which they performed. The author finds some colourful and sometimes eccentric characters; for example, James Davies, who with the assistance of his eight children staged numerous 'Lilliputian entertainments', or James Shatford, founder of the first Lymington theatre in 1771, who apparently appeared dressed in a strange assortment of brightly coloured clothes.

He also reveals that some of the most famous actors and actresses of the day appeared in the county. The renowned Dorothy Jordan, former mistress of the Duke of Clarence, played in Gosport and Portsmouth in 1812 but was not well received. Edmund Kean acted at Portsmouth in 1819 and so moved his audience that they 'sobbed and cried in unison'. The paper also considers the audiences of the day, men and women from all sectors of society. They could often be unruly, as at Winchester, in 1799, when a row broke out between two women over a place in the gallery, the cry 'a fight' was misinterpreted as 'a fire', and panic ensued as the audience attempted to leave the Jewry Street theatre.

The paper includes a useful appendix which, drawing on contemporary newspaper reports and other primary sources, gives details of the development of theatres in Hampshire's towns in the Georgian period.

Physical description 295mm x 210mm; softback; 24 pages.
Published in 1996 by Hampshire County Council.
SKU HRO10
 
Price: £3.00
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