The end of the Spring Term is finally upon us (farewell deadlines; hello chocolate) and with that brings the annual launch of the DR575: Victorian and Edwardian Theatre exhibition, which is being held tomorrow (5th April) at 4.30pm.
This is the second year in a row that our second-year Drama and Theatre Undergraduates have had the challenge of designing an exhibition to fit in the new Templeman Library Gallery space as part of their final assignments. This year, the students have split into two groups looking at very different topics:
Group one: Crime, Scandal and Theatre
The Victorian fascination with the gothic and macabre was a key feature of 19th century society. But when scandalous crimes – like the Jack the Ripper murders – became all too real on the streets of London, how did playwrights reflect the concerns of their audiences? This exhibition will focus on several sensations of the period and explore how the theatrical world reacted. This topic has never been explored as part of this module before, and we can’t wait to see what our students come up with.
Group two: Drury Lane Pantomime of the Late Nineteenth Century
The Theatre Royal at Drury Lane stands on the oldest site of a theatre in London. The 1812 building that stands today is the fourth theatre erected there, and it has a rich history. This exhibition will explore how Augustus Harris’ management in the late 19th century changed the fortunes of the Theatre for the better – and, in particular, how Harris’ role in establishing the Pantomime tradition. It will explore the roles of actors and actresses working at the theatre through analysing material held in Special Collections & Archives.
The Victorian and Edwardian theatre module is always a highlight of the Special Collections & Archives team’s year; this time you’ll also be able to take a look back at past exhibitions to see how far the course has developed. Come along, have a drink and discover how fantastic an insight into Victorian Britain (and beyond) our wonderful theatre collections can provide!