Military Theatre and Empire
Although Tate Wilkinson was found to be one of the most respected and successful people in provincial theatre, his thoughts regarding the performance of The Fair Penitent demonstrate that he had to experience struggles so that his personal and professional respectability became recognized. The façade of the dominant theatrical culture in Britain, exhibited through the various patent houses in the provinces and in London, hides a different kind of rural theatre which involves staging performances in fairground booths, in barns, and in the open-air. In 1788, a change in the law classified all actors, regardless of their status, as craftsmen, yet acting was still associated with criminality and immorality. In this chapter, the author considers looking into the American War of Independence, the British administration of the Cape of Good Hope, and the War of 1812 to analyse the significance of amateur theatricals.
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