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Books about Theatre

Books about Theatre
Posted on Jul 29, 2002 – 03:12 AM by Anthony Waldstock

This is a selective catalogue of books about London Theatre which are in print and available from most high-street bookshops and the on-line bookstores. The catalogue is a growing one and more books will be added as they are published. Some out of print books can be found in specialist bookshops and, sometimes, in the major on-line bookstores. If you are having difficulty in finding a particular book, whether in or out of print, we might be able to help you. Contact us for details of our .

1: Kingdom for a Stage by Joy HancoxThis is a gripping historical detective story which offers the most radical re-assessment of the Elizabethan theatres of London for generations. Joy Hancox re-presents the world of the Globe for the twenty-first century, as it has never been seen before. Drawing on years of research using original documents, she argues that the design of London’s Elizabethan theatres, including the Globe, was not determined by purely local factors on each site. Instead, the shape and size of each was soundly based on Vitruvian architectural principles and the requirements of harmony and balance. She attempts to present the Elizabethan world as the Elizabethans may have seen it, in particular, their view that everything was underpinned by the mystical principles of the Kabbalah. It is this that introduces the “missing dimension” in the design of these theatres and which her original documents have revealed. Her thesis has serious implications for the accuracy of the reconstruction of the Globe on Bankside but has recently been supported by the work of other scholars working on quite different materials. This is a fascinating and controversial book and a must for anyone interested in the development of Theatre in London.


2: The Complete Plays (Everyman Paperback Library)
Christopher Marlowe is one of the greatest authors of the Renaissance his works are filled with violence, wit and awful beauty. It can be argued that without his work the Shakespearean canon would not have developed as it did. His early, and still unexplained, death was a real tragedy for English Theatre. This comprehensive edition is the only one-volume collection of all Marlowe’s plays to include both texts of Doctor Faustus.


3:The Theatres Trust Guide to British Theatres 1750-1950 by John Earl and Michael Sell
In 1982 1t was estimated that of the 1000 theatres and music halls which existed in Britain in 1914, 85% had been either demolished or mutilated beyond repair. Largely through the work of The Theatres Trust, that vandalism has now stopped and many fine old theatres have been restored. This excellent guide and gazetteer presents a critical assessment of more than 650 theatres built before 1950 and includes details of hundreds of lost theatres. There are also biographical notes on the principal theatre architects.


4:The London Theatre Guide by Richard Andrews
Comprehensive and discerning, this is part of a series of handsomely designed travel guides which cover a range of special interests. It is packed with practical travel tips as well as the kind of information you won¹t find in other books. A must for theatre lovers travelling to London.


5:Women and Theatre in the Age of Suffrage: The Pioneer Players, 1911-1925 by Katharine Cockin
The innovative work of the Pioneer Players, a London-based theatre society founded in 1911 by Edith Craig, is explored here for the first time, drawing on original archive research and taking an interdisciplinary approach to women’s involvement in theatre during British women’s suffrage movement. This book tests the claim that the Pioneer Players was a ‘women’s theatre,’ and investigates in a literary context the Pioneer Players’ relationships to the women’s suffrage movement, feminism, and women’s writing.


6: The Theatrical City: Culture, Theatre and Politics in London, 1576-1649Edited by David L. Smith, Richard Strier and David M. Bevington this is an in depth study of the context of early English theatre. It covers the period from the first emergence of players under Elizabeth to the closing of the Theatres in the long joyless night of the Puritan Commonwealth.


7: Italian Opera in Late Eighteenth-Century London: Volume 1: The King’s Theatre, Haymarket 1778-1791
This interdisciplinary study attempts to make sense of what has long been regarded as a chaotic period in the history of opera in London. In 1778, R.B. Sheridan acquired the King’s Theatre and its resident opera company in what we would now call a leveraged buy-out, plunging the opera into escalating debts that were to haunt it into the 1840s. The 1780s and early 1790s were a stormy but exciting era: the company hired some of the foremost singers and dancers in Europe; ballet d’action came to London, with Noverre himself as ballet master; the company employed such composers as Sacchini, Anfossi, Cherubini and ultimately Haydn; it went bankrupt and carried on through years of wrangling in chancery; the King’s Theatre burned down in 1789 and was rebuilt and re-opened in defiance of the Lord Chamberlain’s refusal to license the new building. Drawing on libretti and scores, ballet scenarios, pamphlets, scattered manuscripts, legal records, architectural drawings, newspapers, and other sources, the authors reconstruct the history of the company and its shifting artistic policies, analysing opera and ballet repertory, performers, production circumstances, finances, and managerial infighting.


8:Theatre, Court and City, 1595-1610:Subtitled Drama and Social Space in London, this study by Janette Dillon examines the cultural and social context of the Theatre in London during its early critical years. Elizabethan and early Stuart theatre enjoyed the support of both monarchs and influential courtiers. The City authorities, however, did not approve of the disruption it brought to the ordered existence of Londoners. Then, too, it encouraged apprentices to idle their time away!


9:Opera and Drama in 18th Century London:
This study by Ian Woodfield is part of the Cambridge Studies in Opera Series. It is subtitled The King’s Theatre, Garrick and the Business of Performance and is complementary to the Oxford study covering the history of the King’s Theatre company.10:John Gay and the London Theatre
This study by Calhoun Winton draws attention to the other plays that Gay wrote in addition to the well-known Begger’s Opera. He sets Gray’s career within the political and cultural milieu of early 18th- century London, and discusses his art and the influence of contemporaries such as Handel, Swift, and Alexander Pope.