History of Western Performance: 19th century and an age of theatre reform

By Kate Foy

At the start of the 19th century, the English-speaking theatre was ripe for reform. New theatres were being built and new theatre regulations enacted to accommodate new kinds of entertainment. Plays, influenced by influential literary styles and socio-political issues were being written to meet the demands of a growing audience with its changing and diverse tastes. Acting style was gradually being reformed from the stylised neo-classical style and leading actors of the age were feted as celebrities. New theatre practices and management styles were altered to accommodate new technology and the demographics of audiences.

A portrait of the young Queen Victoria by Franz Winterhalter.