Popular theatre in Manchester 1880-1903: commercial entertainment, rational recreation and politics

Robinson, Claire (2016). Popular theatre in Manchester 1880-1903: commercial entertainment, rational recreation and politics. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

PDF - Accepted Version

Download (4MB)


This thesis investigates the leading popular theatres in central Manchester between the years 1880-1903. It was a time of rapid change that saw the rise of mass entertainment in which the theatres and music halls played a major part. This is a study of theatre as industry rather than the content of what could be seen on its stages.

These developments are discussed as part of a nascent night time cultural economy being driven by the comparative rise in wages and reduction of working hours of the urban workforce. With the power to choose how to spend their disposable income and how to use their leisure time, the growing working and lower middle classes as consumers could exercise influence over the purveyors of commercial entertainment and demand what they wanted to see.

The series of case studies investigate the networks of sociability that emerged and operated in and between the managements of the theatres and connected them with the rising press. Theatre, and specifically pantomime, is seen at the centre of a series of interlocking narratives that connected the industrial city, rational recreation, the ‘bohemian’ network of socialist writers and artists and audiences in late nineteenth century Manchester.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, Department of Drama and Theatre Arts
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/6539


Request a Correction Request a Correction
View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year