Category Archives: Eighteenth Century

Today in Theatre History: SHAKESPEARE ARRIVES IN NEW YORK–March 5, 1750

This day in theatre history–March 5, 1750–marks the first verifiable performance of Shakespeare in the city of New York when a semi-professional assemblage of colonists performed Richard III at an improvised playhouse on Nassau Street.  But this was not the … Continue reading

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Today in Theatre History: “MY KINGDOM FOR A HORSE”: GARRICK TAKES LONDON BY STORM, THEN SHOOTS THE HORSE–October 19, 1741

Having failed as a wine merchant, David Garrick (soon to be the greatest actor on the 18th century English stage) tried his hand at acting.  And it was on this very day in theatre history–October 19, 1741–that the 24 year-old … Continue reading

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Today in Theatre History: BEAUMARCHAIS, ENEMY OF THE REVOLUTION–August 20, 1792

It was on this very day in 1792–August 20–that the great French playwright, Pierre Beaumarchais (The Barber of Seville, The Marriage of Figaro), was declared an enemy of the French Revolution and imprisoned.  It was quite the tumble from his … Continue reading

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Today in Theatre History: LA SCALA (OPERA HOUSE, GAMBLING HALL, & BORDELLO) OPENED FOR BUSINESS–August 3, 1778

On this day in theatre history–August 3, 1778–the great “La Scala” opera house first opened its doors in Milan, Italy.  As was common in those days, Italian opera houses were multi-purpose facilities, providing a wide range of entertainments.  One of … Continue reading

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Today in Theatre History: THE INFAMOUS LICENSING ACT OF 1737–June 21, 1737

On this day in theatre history–June 21, 1737–the infamous Licensing Act was passed by Parliament enjoining the Lord Chamberlain to act as the legal censor of all plays.  English theatre would be severely affected for over a century until the … Continue reading

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Today in Theatre History: THE HALLAMS ARRIVE IN AMERICA–June 2, 1752

Today in theatre history–June 2–is the anniversary of the arrival in North America of the Hallam Troupe from London.  Escaping the economic turmoil that was ravaging England at the time–putting severe pressure on the smaller theatre companies–the Hallams decided to … Continue reading

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Today in Theatre History: PRYNNE & PENN HATE THEATRE; OR, THE EARS HAVE IT–May 31

The end of May seems to be unusually popular with anti-theatrical types as well as the cutting off of ears.  Two significant anti-theatrical events occurred on this day–MAY 31–both directly related to cutting off people’s ears. PRYNNE’S HISTRIOMASTIX; OR, UP … Continue reading

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