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Theatre CensorshipFrom Walpole to Wilson$
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David Thomas, David Carlton, and Anne Etienne

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199260287

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199260287.001.0001

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Theatre Censorship under the Royal Prerogative

Theatre Censorship under the Royal Prerogative

(p.6) 1 Theatre Censorship under the Royal Prerogative
Theatre Censorship

David Thomas (Contributor Webpage)

David Carlton

Anne Etienne (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the early history of theatre censorship exercised under the Royal Prerogative. Beginning with the Elizabethan period and concluding in the early 18th century, it gives a concise overview of the often arbitrary and inconsistent ways in which censorship (both pre-censorship and censorship after the event) was applied prior to the Licensing Act of 1737. Initially the censorship and licensing of plays was exercised by the Master of the Revels, for whom it was an immediate source of earned income. As from the Restoration period, the Lord Chamberlain became increasingly involved in the censorship of plays and the silencing of players or theatre managers.

Keywords:   Licen, Master of the Revels, Lord Chamberlain, Licensing Act 1737

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