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Title: 'Crowded nightly' : popular entertainment outside London during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Author: Featherstone, Ann Denise.
Awarding Body: Royal Holloway, University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2000
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The range and diversity of entertainment available to working people during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries is explored with the emphasis deliberately away from London. Four broad case studies are presented: music hail, theatre, portable theatre and the public house. The influence and personality of the caterer was crucial in the evolution and operation of small, public house halls in Ilkeston Derbyshire. These are compared with the Sebright, a suburban pub music hall in Hackney, east London. Theatre is examined in terms of the popularity of sensation plays during the 1880s and 1890s, with a detailed analysis of particularly popular examples, and a discussion of the touring company and its operation in the provinces. Portable theatres are examined as businesses, including the composition of companies and the audience understood them. Finally, the provincial public house is explored as the focus of leisure activity. The range and variety of these activities is examined in terms of the provision of leisure space, performance ethos, and the oral narrative of the pub story. Drawing these four areas together, I show that the provincial experience of popular entertainment claimed only partial independence from the London model, and that "provincial" as a cultural descriptor is difficult to define. Where the pub music hall in Ilkeston and Hackney had the common driving force of dynamic caterers, the "products" themselves differed markedly. In contrast, the "provincial theatre," whilst it laboured under that often pejorative designation, offered a dramatic diet identical in many ways to the popular working class theatres of London. Nevertheless, the portable theatre and the public house are discussed entirely in their provincial contexts, showing that there are aspects of popular entertainment which had quite specific, provincial characteristics.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available