By the mid-18th century, Worcester had become a centre of social life for a wide area. It was the regular practice of country gentlemen to come to the City for the season of the races and the Assizes; and many owned or rented houses in the Foregate or the Tything. This, and the flourishing cultural activity of the coffee-house intellectuals led to a demand for high quality performances near equal to those available in the capital and Bath.
Among the circuit towns, Worcester was never among the most important. After London, Bath stood out in brilliance and prominence, followed by York, and then towns such as Manchester, Liverpool and Norwich. Worcester ranking with the last three. If however, the circuit deserves pre-eminence, for it was the home and nursery of the Kembles and the Siddons.