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Title: Thomas Killigrew and Carolean stage rivalry in London, 1660-1682
Author: Miyoshi, Riki
ISNI:       0000 0004 6498 4256
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis has two aims: to make an original contribution to knowledge by demonstrating the importance of theatrical rivalry to the development of drama in the Carolean period (the reign of Charles II), and to re-evaluate the managerial career of Thomas Killigrew (1612-1683). This is the first detailed survey of the circumstances in which the King's Company and the Duke's Company competed and an analysis of the troupes' devices of plotting and counter-plotting during their twenty-two years of stage rivalry from 1660 to 1682. As well as charting the stage rivalry between the two companies, my dissertation argues that Killigrew was a competent but unscrupulous and devious playhouse-manager. A close analysis of his managerial career will show how Thomas Killigrew was the central figure in the Carolean stage rivalry in London and how he helped to shape the future of English theatre. The survey starts from Killigrew's beginnings as the manager of the King's Company from 1660 and concludes in 1682 when the King's Company was effectively taken over by its rival, the Duke's Company, to make one United Company, thus ending the span of theatrical competition in the Carolean period. Each chapter is divided in accordance with the beginning and end of significant events of rivalry and are organised chronologically at different phases of the competition. The first chapter provides the historical background of the establishment of the patent grants and the gradual consolidation of the monopoly over dramatic entertainment in London. In charting the initial stages of the development of the King's Company and the Duke's Company from 1660 to 1663, this chapter argues that it was largely due to Thomas Killigrew's underhandedness that the King's Company began the competition in an advantageous position. The second chapter focuses on the theatrical competition from 1663 to 1668. Until 1663 both companies were busy consolidating their duopoly and the competition between the two managers ended abruptly with William Davenant's death in 1668. In the survey of the Killigrew-Davenant rivalry, this chapter's overall aim is to argue for narrowing of the wide chasm often described between the managerial skills of the two managers. Chapter three explores the period from when Mary Davenant, Thomas Betterton and Henry Harris took over the management of the Duke's Company to the burning of the King's Company's playhouse in 1672. It argues that the competition in this period was evenly matched. This chapter also revises the perceived style of management adopted by both Betterton and Killigrew. The chapter argues that Betterton was perhaps less involved in the most audacious project of the Duke's Company during these years: the building of three theatres including the Dorset Garden Theatre. In the case of the latter, this chapter argues that Killigrew continually took risks at other people's expense and was little concerned with the well being of his staff and shareholders as long as the company gained notoriety and retained its success. The penultimate chapter of the dissertation covers the time span from the Bridges Street Theatre's fire to the ousting of Killigrew as the manager by his own son, Charles Killigrew. It argues that this was the crucial period in which the Duke's Company began clearly to surpass its rival. This chapter qualifies the orthodox view that the King's Company simply lost its battle against the Duke's Company by demonstrating that the two companies also had to contend with a large number of foreign troupes and the rising popularity of music concerts. The final chapter explores the period from when Charles Killigrew took over the management of the King's Company to the amalgamation of the two acting troupes in 1682. It demonstrates the negative effects of the political turbulence of the Popish Plot and the Exclusion Crisis on both the troupes' plays and players. The chapter also argues that Charles Killigrew was not as charismatic or manipulative as his father, and that he greatly contributed to the demise of the King's Company. In conclusion, this is strictly a study of theatre history that looks at the importance of management and company rivalry to the development of Carolean drama. At its peak in the 1670s, the Carolean period produced on average twenty new plays per season. The highly competitive nature of the rivalry between the King's Company and the Duke's Company and how the respective managements responded to the success or the failure of the other theatre is the background against which one must read the plays of the Carolean period. Thomas Killigrew, whose managerial career spanned the longest in the Carolean years, was an influential figure in the period and whose innovations and difficulties as a manager had a direct effect not only on theatre history but also on the dramatic traditions of the seventeenth century.
Supervisor: Stern, Tiffany Sponsor: Sasakawa Fund
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: English drama--17th century--History and criticism ; Theatrical companies--History--17th century ; Theater--England--History--17th century