Customs and Practices: The Regulation of the Theatres
This chapter argues that Romantic period drama for the stage has been neglected. A critical paradigm of denial has emerged in which some recent critical work either distorts the analysis it claims to represent or cannot be verified by inspection of the archives. Other modern commentators have underestimated the degree of political or commercial intrusion. Beleaguered actresses such as Elizabeth Macauley (who wrote a pamphlet called Theatric Revolution) and hard pressed ‘illegitimate’ managers such as John Palmer and Thomas John Dibdin sought to run theatres which did not have King Charles II’s Royal Patent, which granted to Covent Garden and Drury Lane a monopoly over all spoken drama, Shakespeare included. The theatrical regulatory environment was both complex and contradictory.
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