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Popular Stage: Drama in Nineteenth Century England: Series 2: Pantomimes


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About this Collection

Introduction: Popular Stage: Drama in Nineteenth Century England: Series2: Pantomimes

Introduction: Popular Stage: Drama in Nineteenth CenturyEngland: Series 2: Pantomimes

 

Publishers Note

 

As part of its programme Britains Literary Heritage,Research Publications (now Primary Source Media, an imprint of Gale, a part ofCengage Learning) is proud to present The Popular Stage: Drama in NineteenthCentury England - The Frank Pettingell Collection of Plays in the Library ofthe University of Kent at Canterbury. This collection offers uniqueevidence of the Victorian Theatre. Series One, complete and available in 5parts, covers over 1000 manuscripts and typescript plays by many of the mostpopular dramatists of the Victorian era, including Samuel Alkyns, C.H.Hazlewood, George Dibdin Pitt, C.H. Stephenson, and Dion Boucicault. Fewer than40 of these plays have previously been published, yet they formed the staplediet of the popular theatres.

 

This Second Series is complete in this single unit. Itcovers over 300 pantomime libretti, reflecting the tremendous popularity ofthis form of entertainment in the nineteenth century. E.L. Blanchard, one ofthe best known and most prolific authors of the genre, is well represented, andthere are many unique and extremely rare items including some titles that arenot listed in Allardyce Nicolls History of English Drama. There areseven bound volumes devoted to Drury Lane performances between 1850 and 1906and others covering performances in Brighton, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow,Liverpool, London, Newcastle, Nottingham and York.

 

Pantomime began as a variation on Harlequinade, and by theearly nineteenth century had grown to become the main attraction on the bill.Popular subjects for pantomimes are folk tales such as Aladdin, Cinderella,Dick Whittington, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Sleeping Beauty,but this collection also includes less well-known stories such as Grimalkinthe Great, Little King Pippin, Valentine and Orson, and TheYellow Dwarf.

 

The collection was formed by the actor Frank Pettingell(1891-1966). The University of Kent at Canterbury acquired the collection fromMrs. Ethel Pettingell, his widow, in 1967. (See Theatre Notebook, VolumeXXXI, Number 3, 1977, pp. 26).

 

An extensive, unpublished catalogue to the collection wasprepared for the University of Kent by the first University Librarian, G.S.Darlow. The section relating to pantomimes appears on the first reel of thissecond series followed by the working card catalogue of the collection. Fromthese sources we have compiled a detailed listing of the pantomimes with title,author and theatre indexes. However, readers are reminded that the originallistings include some pieces of information not included in this guide (forinstance, notes on how an authors name has been deduced).

 

The material varies enormously in size and condition. Thereare printed libretti with feint pencil annotations. There are handwrittenlibretti on poor quality nineteenth century paper which has turned brown orgone brittle. Many volumes are extra-illustrated or include news-clippings.These variations cause problems which cannot always be entirely overcome bycareful camera-work. However, we have made every attempt to film the materialcarefully, with a view to the needs of the reader, and to the standards set bythe American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and The Association forInformation and Image Management (AIIM).