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Institutions and urban change since 1850
Editors: Janet Wolff and Mike Savage

This book brings together studies of cultural institutions in Manchester from 1850 to the present day, giving an unprecedented account of the city’s cultural evolution. These bring to light the remarkable range of Manchester’s contribution to modern cultural life, including the role of art education, popular theatre, religion, pleasure gardens, clubs and societies. The chapters show the resilience and creativity of Manchester’s cultural institutions since 1850, challenging any simple narrative of urban decline following the erosion of Lancashire’s industrial base, at the same time illustrating the range of activities across the social classes. The essays are organized chronologically. They consider the role of calico printers in the rise of art education in Britain; the origins and early years of the Belle Vue Zoological Gardens; the formation of the Manchester Dante Society in 1906; the importance of theatre architecture in the social life of the city; the place of religion in early twentieth-century Manchester, in the case of its Methodist Mission; the cosmopolitan nature of the Manchester International Club, founded in 1937; cultural participation in contemporary Manchester; and questions of culture and class in the case of a contemporary theatre group.

Rosalind Crone

-off, ‘Hertfordshire Tragedy; or, the Victims of Gaming!’2 From the second decade of the nineteenth century onwards, the popular theatre formed another site for representation of contemporary topical murders, but in this location the re-enactment of actual murders was accompanied and overwhelmed by a virtual tidal wave of melodramas featuring fictional, but equally bloody combats and assassinations. Of course murder was not new to plots presented in English theatre generally, but there was something quite distinct about its quantity and quality in nineteenth-century drama as

in Violent Victorians
Lissette Lopez Szwydky

Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was transformed for the stage only months after its publication in 1886. 5 Gothic narratives in particular found themselves at the centre of the century’s fascination with adaptation. Hoeveler’s Gothic Riffs: Secularizing the Uncanny in the European Imaginary, 1780–1820 (2010) tracks popular Gothic narratives and themes through the multiple media and genres available to nineteenth-century consumers, including opera, drama, melodrama, ballads, and chapbooks. 6 Of all of these, nineteenth-century popular theatre provides the

in Adapting Frankenstein
Dystopian performatives and vertigo aesthetics in popular theatre
Simon Parry

3 Speculative theatricality: dystopian performatives and vertigo aesthetics in popular theatre The scientific version of our existence on this planet may very well be physically true, but we don’t like it much. It isn’t cuddly. There aren’t many tunes you can hum in the shower. (Atwood 2012, 54) What is this feeling So sudden and new? I felt the moment I laid eyes on you My pulse is rushing My head is reeling My face is flushing What is this feeling? Fervid as a flame Does it have a name? (Holzman and Schwartz 2006, 146) The novelist Margaret Atwood snappily

in Science in performance
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1870 – the civilising moment?
Rosalind Crone

course of the 1860s, many of the entertainments described in its chapters went through some sort of change so that after 1870 most did not exist in their original form. For instance, the working classes deserted the popular theatres in favour of the new, bright music halls, the repertoire of which contained much less graphic violence than the bloody melodramas. The penny bloods disappeared; the cheap fiction purchased by most labourers in the late nineteenth century was characterised by watered-down rags to riches stories with little gore or other titillation. As

in Violent Victorians
Metamorphoses of early modern comedy in eighteenth-century bourgeois theatre
Friedemann Kreuder

incoherence, Hegel considers them unsuitable, or at best an embarrassment, in the dramatic genre of tragedy; 7 and yet they are typical for the Viennese model of popular theatre, as exemplified by Kurz. Although mostly outside the focus of current theatre historiography, this theatre – a thriving descendant of early modern transnational comedy – is a realm of cultural practice and an

in Transnational connections in early modern theatre
Melodrama and politics in late Georgian England
Robert Poole

George Barnwell.35 Conservatives were alarmed by the radical potential of popular theatre, especially melodrama. Coleridge grumbled privately about ‘the right of cultural suffrage … too widely diffused’. George Colman, the playwright turned censor, complained that even outwardly moral plays with ‘gallant heroes’ and ‘hapless lovers’ still managed ‘to preach up the doctrine that government is Tyranny, that Revolt is Virtue, and that Rebels are Righteous’.36 Theatrical censorship, however effective it may have been over details, could not control the way in which the

in Politics, performance and popular culture
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Fulke Greville’s Mustapha
Daniel Cadman

poetry should be both an art and a diversion; in a large and cultivated public like the Athenian it can be both; the shy recluses of Lady Pembroke's circle were bound to fail. 4 This kind of narrative helped to promulgate an image of the so-called ‘Senecals’ as a rather pedantic group of wits spearheading an ill-advised and ill-fated campaign to reform, through their ‘slavish imitation’ of the Senecan model of tragedy, the apparent lapses in decorum perpetuated by the popular theatres. 5 This is also

in The genres of Renaissance tragedy
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A Looking Glasse for London and the Book of Jonah
Hannibal Hamlin

Hannibal Hamlin focuses on one significant play, A Looking Glasse for London, by Thomas Lodge and Robert Greene. Called the most popular biblical play of the Elizabethan stage, it is rich in spectacle and scandal – designed to succeed in the popular theatre. Yet Hamlin proposes that in both moralising and stagecraft it looks back to the mystery plays of the earlier fifteenth century. It thus offers a unique Elizabethan example of staging God himself, though done in such a peculiar way as to avoid censure.

in Enacting the Bible in medieval and early modern drama
Open Access (free)
A theatre maker in every sense
Brian Singleton

Lily Brayton was one half of the twentieth century’s first celebrity couple on the London stage. Together with her husband, Oscar Asche, Brayton dominated popular theatre for a decade with her brave and ingenious characterisations of the ‘oriental woman’ in a series of plays from Kismet (1911) to Cairo (1921). She had come to fame, often in breeches roles, in popularised versions of Shakespeare plays since the turn of the century. Her ‘New Woman’ characterisations and performances were matched equally by her offstage business acumen. The chapter explores Brayton’s positive and successful image of woman, both on and off the stage, and sets this against her near erasure from theatre history as her separation from the stage occurred simultaneously with her separation from her husband.

in Stage women, 1900–50