The business of pantomime: regional productions 1865 to 1892

Sullivan, Jill Alexandra (2005) The business of pantomime: regional productions 1865 to 1892. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

Whilst in recent years the study of nineteenth-century popular theatre and culture has expanded into the music hall, fairgrounds and 'minor' theatres, embracing melodrama and spectacle, the Victorian pantomime has attracted little attention. More especially, the widespread and dynamic productions of the English provincial theatres have been largely excluded in discussions that repeatedly focus on the London stage.

My thesis is centred on the Theatres Royal of Nottingham and Birmingham, two towns sited in the English Midlands, but with markedly different population sizes, socioeconomic structures and national status. My argument, however, is not predicated on comparison but rather on siting the pantomimes within the very specific local contexts of each town. The relationship between the pantomime and the town engages with a notion of audience, identifiable through textual and promotional materials. The argument in my thesis moves from an overview of production styles at the two theatres to a specific analysis of the financing and promotion of the pantomime at Nottingham in the mid- 1860s. Using extant financial records, I have established how the pantomime was produced in times of local hardship, and how a production affected by low expenditure and failing revenue was promoted to its potential audiences. The emphases of advertising and the promotional techniques engaged by the theatre managements, together with those of the local newspapers also enable a reassessment of the role of the pantomime author.

The traditional understanding of authorship as related to ownership of the text is reconsidered in relation to the role the pantomime author played in the promotion of the production, and his real and construed relationship to the theatre and town for which he was writing. Moreover, the available empirical evidence has served to foreground the pantomime text as an expression of local concerns and political interests that were particular to each town and displayed an acute awareness of issues of regional identity and status.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Supervisors:Guy, J.M.
Robinson, J.K.
Faculties/Schools:UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of English Studies
ID Code:1078
Deposited By:June Walsh
Deposited On:15 Jan 2010 11:46
Last Modified:15 Jan 2010 11:46

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