There is much evidence, it seems, that Elizabethan dramatists spent a measure of their creative energy revising old playbooks. The title pages of some quartos advertise that their contents are ‘amended’ or ‘newly corrected’, and the similarity of plays on such subjects as the Yorkist kings and tamable shrews have made it plausible that one text is a revision of the other. In the 1908 edition of Henslowe's Diary, W. W. Greg lent sanction to the idea of playhouse revision; defending the sign ‘ne’ as the mark of new plays, he offered as an exception a play ‘new in the sense that it was a revival with alterations’. In the Cambridge editions of Shakespeare's plays, J. Dover Wilson systematically identified textual variants and cruxes in the early plays as evidence of revisions, allegedly made for a revival. Over the years, editions of and monographs on plays with more than one textual version have reinforced the association of major alterations with a play's return to the stage after some period of retirement. For such an apparently widespread playhouse practice, G. E. Bentley developed a ‘rule of thumb’: ‘almost any play … kept in active repertory by the company which owned it is most likely to contain later revisions by the author or, in many cases, by another playwright working for the same company’.
In the great suffrage campaign waged in the decade preceding the First World War, women established a multitude of organizations in order to exert collective pressure upon a reluctant House of Commons. Some, such as the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), which was founded by Emmeline Pankhurst, favored confrontational tactics and resorted to occasional violence against property, as a means of attracting notice to the cause. Others, most notably the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) over which Mrs Millicent Fawcett presided, defined themselves as ‘constitutional’ and utilized the classic methods of persuasion and lobbying, in preference to the more dramatic tactics of their ‘militant’ sisters. Between the extremes of the WSPU and the NUWSS were numerous organizations composed of women activists of varying backgrounds, occupations, and views, sharing nonetheless a common dedication to the principle of female enfranchisement and caught up in the excitement and pageantry of a campaign which at times appeared almost religious in tone and character.
A decade ago the analysis of the structure of the plays performed by the Elizabethan, Jacobean, and Caroline professional theatre companies, in order to discover patterns of doubling of the roles, seemed to hold considerable promise for further inquiry. D. M. Bevington's pioneering From ‘Mankind’ to Marlowe and W. A. Ringler's article ‘The Number of Actors in Shakespeare's Early Plays’ offered direct evidence and tools for structural analysis, and were followed by important studies by Scott McMillin, Irwin Smith, and others. Nevertheless, since then interest in this area – and particularly in doubling on the seventeenth-century stage – seems to have declined. The assumption made explicitly by Bevington and implied by most other commentators has been that as the professional acting companies expanded their resources, found patrons, and increased the number of their liveried personnel, the frenetic doubling of the Tudor era became unnecessary. Apart from some unhurried doubling of very minor characters and extras, they believe this practice virtually disappeared from the Jacobean stage, rendering further investigation unnecessary. The small amount of direct evidence to the contrary, first noted by W. J. Lawrence in 1927, has been analysed as an interesting but aberrant phenomenon; occasional atavistic survivals in a more opulent and refined age whose taste was turning towards ‘realism’ in acting and production methods.
William Charles Macready was, except for Edmund Kean, the greatest and most influential actor of his time. He was distinguished not only for the energy, design, and command of his own acting, but also for the introduction of thorough rehearsal procedures and a concern for all aspects of production: a policy which led to the carefully unified production work of his disciple Samuel Phelps and the lavish Shakespearian productions of Henry Irving at the end of the century. Macready was demanding, disciplined, outspoken, and widely admired. He in fact helped to establish the actor-manager/company relationship typical of the period. In his youth, relationships between leading actors had been typically combative and coercive, and actors who had developed successful individual styles exacted company submission as their due. Kean, when he could, had refused to act with other men of quality, and Macready himself had been kept from Shakespearian roles at Covent Garden by Charles Mayne Young, J. B. Booth, and Charles Kemble. In the face of such divisive factors, Macready, with continual hard work and a bustling dictatorial manner, rose to a position of such power and respect that twice he was able to gather around him some of the most respected actors of his time to form a company unequalled for the beauty and finish of its productions.
On 29 August 1636, King Charles I and his Queen, Henrietta Maria, paid a royal visit to the University of Oxford at the invitation of Archbishop Laud, Chancellor of the University. They lodged in Christ Church, a royal foundation and the largest of the Oxford colleges, which was to become the seat of their court during the Civil War. During the two days they spent in Oxford on this occasion, the King and Queen and their entourage were entertained with three plays: William Strode's The Floating Island, in Christ Church hall on the night of 29 August; George Wilde's Love's Hospital, in St. John's College hall on the afternoon of 30 August; and William Cartwright's The Royal Slave, again in Christ Church hall on the night of 30 August.
A somewhat unlikely conjunction of personalities involving Marie Stopes, well-known sexologist and birth control advocate, and Alfred Sutro, writer of society dramas for London's West End, occurred during the last weeks of 1927. Part of the story has been told by Marie Stopes's biographer Ruth Hall, but hitherto unpublished letters from the vast Stopes Collection and elsewhere fill in the outlines of the brief, revealing encounter.
Karagkiozis, or Greek shadow puppet theatre, is a theatrical form that reflects nineteenth-century Greek oral culture. It utilizes a variety of national and regional costumes, dialects, and manners. Having developed in Greece during the period of that nation's modern history, it expresses the continuity of Greek culture and carries its themes, scenes of daily life, and characters. It retains, moreover, vestiges, or perhaps more accurately resurgences, of the pagan as well as the Christian past. Folk characters and types from folk plays and tales – the quack doctor, old man, old woman, devil Jew, Vlach, Moor, Gypsy, swaggering soldier, old rustic, jesting servant, trickster, parasite, stuttering child, ogre, dragon, bald-chin, and the great beauty – are its types as well. Popular folk dances, regional songs, and heroic poetry and ballads appear throughout Karagkiozis performances.