Victorian Theater: A Timeline

Again, this is based on Michael Booth’s Theatre in the Victorian Age.

1831:

  • Madame Vestris begins her management of the Olympic

1832:

  • First Reform Act
  • Select Committee on Dramatic Literature

1833:

  • Dramatic Copyright Act
  • Dramatic Authors’ Society founded

1837:

  • Death of William IV
  • Accession of Queen Victoria
  • William Charles Macready begins his management of Covent Garden
  • A new train station opens (Euston Station)

1838:

  • Proclamation of the People’s Charter
  • National Gallery opened
  • Coronation of Queen Victoria
  • Paddington Station opened

1839:

  • Vestris-Mathews management of Covent Garden
  • Webster management of Haymarket
  • First theatrical use of limelight
  • Chartist disturbances
  • First Afghan War

1840:

  • Victoria and Albert marry
  • Institution of the penny post

1841:

  • Macready management of Drury Lane
  • Birth of the Prince of Wales (Edward VII)

1842:

  • Presentation of Chartist petition to Parliament

1843:

  • Theatre Regulation Act
  • Macready leaves Drury Lane
  • Thames Tunnel opened

1844:

  • Phelps management of Sadler’s Wells (in north-east London)
  • Webster management of Adelphi
  • First electric telegraph line, Washington-Baltimore

1845:

  • Irish famine

1846:

  • Corn Laws repealed

1847:

  • Covent Garden opened as an opera house

1848:

  • First theatrical use of electric carbon-arc
  • First proposal for a national theater
  • Windsor Castle Command performances
  • Revolution in Europe
  • Chartists disturbances and final petition to Parliament
  • Waterloo Station opened
  • Gold discovered in California

1850:

  • Charles Kean management of Princess’s

1851:

  • Great Exhibition in London

1852:

  • Canterbury Hall opened in Lambeth, first purpose-built music hall
  • King’s Cross Station opened

1853:

  • Buckstone management of Haymarket

1854:

  • Crimean War
  • Crystal Palace opened

1855:

  • Henry VIII runs 100 nights at the Princess’s
  • Metropolitan Board of Works established

1856:

  • Covent Garden destroyed by fire
  • Henry Irving appears in Sunderland
  • Ellen Terry appears at the Princess’s as a child actress
  • End of Crimean War

1858:

  • New Covent Garden Opera opened
  • Swanborough management of the Strand

1859:

  • Charles Kean leaves Princess’s

1860:

  • Victoria Station opened

1861:

  • Death of Prince Albert
  • Civil War in America

1862:

  • Phelps leaves Sadler’s Wells
  • Cotton famine in Lancashire

1863:

  • The Ticket-of-Leave Man begins a run of 407 nights at the Olympic
  • Underground Metropolitan Line opened

1864:

  • Charing Cross Station opened

1865:

  • Marie Wilton management of Prince of Wales’s
  • End of Civil War
  • Assassination of President Lincoln

1866:

  • Select Committee on Theatrical Licenses and Regulations

1867:

  • Standard Theater reopened under John Douglass management
  • Second Reform Act (England)
  • Dominion of Canada established

1868:

  • Gaiety opened under Hollingshed management
  • Reform Act (Scotland)
  • St. Pancras Station opened

1869:

  • Suez Canal opened

1871:

  • Irving joins the Lyceum
  • First Gilbert and Sullivan opera, Thespis, at the Gaiety

1874:

  • Irving plays Hamlet at the Lyceum

1875:

  • Our Boys begins a run of 1366 performances at the Vaudeville

1876:

  • Queen Victoria proclaimed Empress of India

1878:

  • Irving management of Lyceum
  • Second Afghan War

1879:

  • Harris management of Drury Lane
  • Hare-Kendal management of St. James’s
  • Tay Bridge disaster

1880:

  • Bancroft management of the Haymarket
  • Bancrofts are first to use the “picture-frame” stage
  • First Boer War

1881:

  • First telephone exchanges in London and the provinces
  • Natural History Museum opened

1885:

  • Music Hall Artists’ Association formed
  • Bancrofts leave Haymarket
  • Burmese War
  • Parliamentary Redistribution Act

1886:

  • Colonial Exhibition in London

1887:

  • Empire Theatre of Varieties opened
  • Queen Victoria’s Jubilee
  • International Copyright Act

1889:

  • Ibsen’s A Doll’s House in London

1890:

  • Alexander management of St. James’s

1891:

  • Actor’s Association formed
  • Independent Theatre Society founded by J.T. Grein
  • English Opera House (Palace Theatre) opened
  • American Copyright Act

1892:

  • Charley’s Aunt begins run of 1492 performances at the Royalty
  • Select Committee on Theatres and Places of Entertainment

1894:

  • Elizabethan Stage Society founded by William Poel
  • Manchester Ship Canal opened

1895:

  • Irving knighted

1896:

  • Last Gilbert and Sullivan opera, The Grand Duke, at the Savoy
  • Arthur Collins management of Drury Lane

1897:

  • Bancroft knighted
  • Beerbohm Tree management of Her Majesty’s
  • Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee

1898:

  • Fire at the Lyceum destroys most of the stage props and scenery

1899:

  • Irving management of Lyceum taken over by Lyceum Theatre Company
  • Stage Society founded
  • Second Boer War

1901:

  • Death of Queen Victoria
  • Accession of Edward VII
  • Building of new Harrod’s department store begins
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