Managing Performance

David Francis Taylor

in Theatres of Opposition

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199642847
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738869 | DOI:
Managing Performance

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  • Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights)
  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)


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This chapter focuses on the 1790s, the period of Sheridan’s support for the French Revolution and increasingly vocal criticisms of the government’s curtailment of civil liberties, and considers the dynamic relationship between Sheridan’s radical politics and his management of Drury Lane (the playhouse of which he was the principal proprietor from 1776 until 1809). Through two case studies of productions staged at Drury Lane in the mid 1790s—Thomas Otway’s Venice Preserv’d (Oct. 1795) and William Henry Ireland’s Shakespeare forgery Vortigern (April 1796)—it elicits the ways in which Sheridan’s radicalism inflected the processes of spectatorial interpretation at his theatre, and suggests that Drury Lane became, on occasions, the site of a dangerously mobilized audience.

Keywords: spectator; audience; manager; theatre; revolution; Thomas Otway; Shakespeare; forgery; radical; Drury Lane

Chapter.  15973 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights) ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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