This project investigates the finances of eighteenth-century theatre in London, focusing on the two major theatres, Covent Garden and Drury Lane, 1732–1809. Account-books, ledgers, and ephemeral manuscript folios, held mainly at the British Library and the Folger Library, are the project’s main sources; they contain extensive data on ticket sales, audience composition, actor salaries, payments to other theatre workers, repayments to investors, costume, scenery and other costs.
The project will transcribe and digitize these manuscripts and will use econometric methods to analyse the theatres’ underlying commercial operations. The project will apply these economic methodologies so that new perspectives on the careers of managers, playwrights, actors, and plays emerge. By synthesizing this complex data, Theatronomics will further enable us, by interacting with other datasets, to ask new interdisciplinary questions about the place of theatre within the city of London. The project will develop innovative digital humanities resources for the next generation of eighteenth-century theatre studies.
The successful candidate will use their expertise in economics to work closely with the project team and Principal Investigator Professor David O’Shaughnessy, and play a leading role in the development of new interdisciplinary methodologies for analysing the revenues of the two major London theatres of the eighteenth century. They will develop dynamic profiles of theatres, managers, playwrights, plays, and the theatre audience as the repertory evolves across the period (WP 1 and WP2). They will also examine the salary lifecycle of the Georgian actor as well as building up a full picture of the other costs incurred by the theatres during the period. (WP3 and WP 4). The roles will involve working in partnership with theatre historians to develop econometric analytical frameworks that will meet the needs of humanities scholarship.
Deadline for applications: 2 June 2022.
Further information can be found here.