The Suppression of the Royalty Theatre in the East End of London
The Royalty Theatre, Tower Hamlets, was opened in 1787 by the actor John Palmer and provoked immediate attempts at coercive suppression by the combined forces of Covent Garden, Drury Lane, and the Haymarket (London’s summer season royal playhouse). This chapter analyzes not only how these attacks were organized but also how the Royalty sought to gain a popular local following by mounting charitable performances, by carrying its message within its new dramas, and by appealing to its local audience constituency, including local Jews. In 1803, the newly formed Society for the Suppression of Vice explicitly sought to interdict the renewal of the Royalty’s license (which came from local magistrates). The chapter traces the close links between the works it performed and the local population catchment within which it was situated.
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