Playbill Theatre Royal, Sheffield, 1862


Playbill Theatre Royal, Sheffield, 1862


This playbill, held at the University of Canterbury Kent’s Templeman Library, from the Theatre Royal Sheffield, advertises “positivity the last representation in Sheffield,” of The Octoroon and another of Boucicault’s dramas, The Colleen Bawn. The playbill is significant in pointing out the “new and effective arrangement” of The Octoroon, “which, whilst it improves, shortens the length of the drama” and the scene lit indicates that it is the four-act version performed, including the sensation scene of the “Magnolia on Fire.” The playbill is also important in advertising The Colleen Bawn and The Octoroon as a full night’s entertainment, which newspaper advertisements of this period indicate became a regular feature of provincial theatres at the time. The Colleen Bawn dates from around the same time as The Octoroon – and was the first new Boucicault play to be performed in New York in the aftermath of that incendiary production. In 1859, having departed from the Winter Garden Theatre and the production of The Octoroon that had caused so much controversy, Dion Boucicault and Agnes Robertson joined with Laura Keene’s Varieties Theatre and began to stage a series of “Irish” melodramas, one of which was The Colleen Bawn. When Boucicault and Robertson returned to London in 1860, they opened at the New Royal Adelphi Theatre with The Colleen Bawn, which was an immediate and lasting success.


July 19, 1862


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