Competition and criticism
in Treading the bawds
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The Patent Company was in trouble. The big names of the late Stuart stage were now to be found at Lincoln's Inn Fields rather than at Drury Lane or Dorset Gardens, and the London playgoing audience seemed more inclined to put their hands in their pockets for the rebels. The patent house employed a number of strategies to recover its share of the audience, including the repeated use of personal burlesque, which, as Judith Milhous observes, ‘gave Drury Lane actors a chance to show off in their own persons, as well as a chance to distort and exaggerate their rivals'habits’. Here then was an opportunity for the Patent Company players to develop their own public identity and win their own audiences. One of the more intriguing aspects of this approach is that it implicitly demonstrates the strength of the Players' Company position and the extent to which the Patent Company players participated in the battle with the rival company.

Treading the bawds

Actresses and playwrights on the Late-Stuart stage


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