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Charles Dibdin and Late Georgian Culture$
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Oskar Cox Jensen, David Kennerley, and Ian Newman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198812425

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198812425.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 27 January 2022

The Changing Theatrical Economy

The Changing Theatrical Economy

Charles Dibdin the Younger at Sadler’s Wells, 1814–19

(p.171) 9 The Changing Theatrical Economy
Charles Dibdin and Late Georgian Culture

Susan Valladares

Oxford University Press

This chapter brings Charles Dibdin the Younger centre stage, facilitating an assessment of longer-term changes in the late Georgian cultural economy. The focus is the decline of Dibdin’s management of Sadler’s Wells in the years after 1814. The theatre’s wartime success rested on its spectacular, patriotic, aquatic pantomimes, yet a combination of the tense postwar political climate, the changing social constituency of the area in which the theatre was situated, and an increasing disinclination towards the mixed performances the theatre offered all played a part in the losses the theatre sustained in the late 1810s. The author draws a parallel between the decline of Sadler’s Wells and Dibdin’s poetic romance Young Arthur (1819), which, while enthusiastically received by some, was too much of a ‘medley’ to satisfy others. In both the literary and theatrical fields, tastes were changing, leaving practitioners uncertain of their place in this new theatrical economy.

Keywords:   Sadler’s Wells, aquatic, mirror curtain, panorama, poetry, theatre, Napoleonic wars, theatre management

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