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'First-Class Evening Entertainments': Spectacle and Social Control in a Mid-Victorian Music-Hall
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-07, 21:06 authored by Nicholas TillNicholas Till
First-Class Evening Entertainments was the title given to a variety programme presented at Hoxton Hall in East London when it first opened in 1863. In 2000 Nicholas Till and Kandis Cook were commissioned by Hoxton Hall and the English National Opera Studio to make a new music theatre piece for the Hall, which led to an investigation of the content and context of the original programme. In the following article Nicholas Till offers a reading of the 1863 programme as an example of the mid-Victorian project to exercise social control over the urban working classes. Nicholas Till is Senior Lecturer in Theatre at Wimbledon School of Art, and co-artistic director of the experimental music theatre company Post-Operative Productions. He is the author of Mozart and the Enlightenment: Truth, Virtue, and Beauty in Mozart's Operas (Faber, 1992), and is currently editing The Cambridge Companion to Opera.
JournalNew Theatre Quarterly
Department affiliated with
- Music Publications
NotesThis article is based upon research undertaken for a new music theatre work commissioned in 2000 by the English National Opera Studio for Hoxton Hall in east London. Built in 1863, Hoxton Hall is one of only two surviving mid-Victorian music halls. The theatre work itself was a contemporary reading of the original programme for the opening of Hoxton Hall, which is documented in the local newspaper The Shoreditch Observor. The article offers a fully contextualised reading of all of the different components of the programme as an example of the mid-Victorian project to provide "rational recreation" for the working classes.
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