Thesis Title: Eighteenth-century English theatre: publication beyond print
Supervisor: Ros Ballaster & Abigail Williams
My project makes use of the yet uncatalogued Brady Collection held at Christ Church Library. This collection of ephemera, alongside a large reference library of associated books, came to the library in 1977. Containing tens of thousands of items ranging in date from the 17th to 20th centuries, the collection spans a range of theatrical and entertainment subjects and is an invaluable primary resource. It includes c. 15,000 theatrical portraits of authors, actors and actresses (both in and out of roles), characters, dramatists, and depictions of theatrical productions, along with the music and other related materials.
My thesis will explore evidence beyond print of the ways in which theatrical culture was made and consumed in eighteenth-century Britain. The study of theatre history and performance is often grounded in printed versions of play texts. Yet theatre itself is primarily a visual and aural medium. Beyond the dramatic mainpiece, playbills note prologues, interludes and epilogues of music, dancing, and comedy. My project uses the Brady collection to reconstruct the role and presence of these elements and the way they interact with spoken word performances in a night’s theatrical entertainment.