The London Stage Database is the latest in a long line of projects that aim to capture and present the rich array of information available on the theatrical culture of London, from the reopening of the public playhouses following the English civil wars in 1660 to the end of the eighteenth century. On a given night, in each of the city’s playhouses, hundreds or even thousands of spectators gathered to experience richly varied performance events that included not only plays, but prologues and epilogues, short afterpieces and farces, pantomimes, instrumental music, singing, and dancing. These events, taken together, provide a wealth of information about the rhythms of public life and the texture of popular culture in long-eighteenth-century London.
The database has been based on the London Stage Information Bank, a 1970s computerized version of The London Stage, 1660-1800: A Calendar of Plays, Entertainments & Afterpieces, Together with Casts, Box-Receipts and Contemporary Comment. Compiled from the Playbills, Newspapers and Theatrical Diaries of the Period (Southern Illinois University Press, 1960-1968).
The website is designed to be accessible to users who wish to search for specific actors, theaters, play titles, playwrights, etc. The data can also be downloaded.