Life in an 18th Century Theatrical Company

  • 16 Jan 2012
  • Theatre
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Theatrical companies followed each other around the circuit, and their press announcements give some idea of the preparation that was necessary to begin a season at Worcester. In November 1768, Berrow's Journal announced; 'Mr. Kemble begs to inform the Ladies and Gentlemen, that the Theatre at the King's Head is completely fitted up, and constant fires have been kept this fortnight past to air the house'. In the provinces long runs were rare, and there were weeks when the theatre was closed.

There was little storage space or dressing room. In general, special scenes were exceptional, and too costly even in the London theatres. Old flats and shutters were used over and over again. Similarly, actors were expected to know thirty to forty parts, and the company to be able at short notice, to put on a request from an important member of the county gentry.