The Bard returns to Shoreditch : Shakespearean Productions at the Britannia Theatre
Histories of nineteenth-century Shakespearean performances tend to concentrate on those produced at West End theatres. The minor theatres, attracting lower-class audiences, are largely ignored. This essay documents and analyses the frequency, popularity and type of Shakespearean productions staged between 1840 and 1900 at the Britannia Theatre, which was situated on Hoxton High Street, Shoreditch. The evidence reveals a clear preference for tragedy rather than comedy, and productions reduced to a few acts, key scenes or even tableaux. Although it did not provide original interpretations and insights into the plays, the Britannia's performance history reaffirms the centrality of Shakespeare in Victorian culture.