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Title: Victorian values and the Victorian theatre
Author: Francis, Michael Barrie
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2013
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I contend that 'morality, respectability, and decorum', were Victorian values trumpeted particularly loudly in Birmingham because of the local dominance of Nonconformism. Nonconformists had materially delayed the granting of a licence to Birmingham's playhouse, and continued actively hostile to its existence. Their influence on the prevailing 'official' moral climate is apparent in the reluctance of the local magistracy to grant music hall licence applications. Theatre managers here, then, laboured under an added imperative to maintain tranquil, well-conducted houses, presenting wholesome fare, and with strong community links. II My contention is that the theatre embraced and, occasionally, stimulated technological innovation. I also argue that Birmingham industrialists played a crucial role in materially changing both the functioning and the appearance of playhouses and music halls. That the revolution in mobility was the overriding factor in the contemporary mushrooming of playhouses and music halls is, I suggest, too apparent to be gainsaid. I focus closely on the transformation of Birmingham's transport links, both externally and within the town, and the readiness of local promoters and managers of theatres to exploit the new opportunities to attract audiences. III I suggest that if cultural imperialism operated more subtly than the political brand, imperialism it remained. The relationship with the fledgling United States displayed the classic characteristics of paternalism and condescension, not unmixed with arrogance, on . the part of the metropolitan power, and a general deference, giving way to fits of resentment, pique, and sometimes open rebellion, on the part of the erstwhile colonials. Minstrelsy and the cult of the 'Wild West' represent the beginnings of a reversal of the hitherto one-way cultural traffic, mirroring changes in the transatlantic political balance. I argue that the advent of steam navigation was a key factor in the expanding and vibrant Anglo-American exchange, with Birmingham playing a full role in that exchange.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: DA Great Britain ; PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater