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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, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 04 December 2021

Dibdin at the Royal Circus

Dibdin at the Royal Circus

(p.43) 3 Dibdin at the Royal Circus
Charles Dibdin and Late Georgian Culture

Michael Burden

Oxford University Press

In 1782, Dibdin entered into a partnership with Charles Hughes to set up a new entertainment venue, the Royal Circus. Its unique feature was the combination of an equestrian ring with allegorical and musical entertainments on a proscenium-arch stage, an innovative hybrid that drew upon the respective talents of Hughes and Dibdin. This chapter analyses how the Circus sought to compete with its rivals through its architecture and location, spectacle, music, novelties (including performances by children), and the mixing of genres and forms. Ultimately, however, Dibdin’s time at the Circus ended in ignominious disputes, a product of licensing problems, but also a failure to collaborate successfully in the manner demanded by this form of entertainment. Dibdin’s spell as a theatre-manager at the Circus thus reveals the wider driving forces—competition, innovation, miscellany, and collaboration—that lay behind the flourishing of London’s minor theatres in the late eighteenth century.

Keywords:   print culture, Circus, Joseph Grimaldi, collaboration, licensing, commercial entertainment, competition, spectacle

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