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Reading: From Analogues to Digital: New Resources in Nineteenth-Century Theatre


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From Analogues to Digital: New Resources in Nineteenth-Century Theatre


Caroline Radcliffe,

About Caroline
Caroline Radcliffe completed her PhD at Royal Holloway. She now teaches drama and theatre studies at Birmingham University. Prior to her academic career, Caroline trained as a musician, touring and recording internationally and working for television and radio, specialising in historical performance practice. She has also worked extensively for theatre companies such as the Globe as well as her own more recent, award-winning digital media performance collaborations with Spacedog UK. Caroline is presently working on an article based on her research for the Lord Chamberlain's Plays Project, demonstrating the extent to which a synthesis of contemporary media influenced Victorian drama - periodicals and serialisations, paintings and prints, novels and music - creating a remediated visual scenography and aural soundscape, demanding a new reading of the texts available in the LCP collection.
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Kate Mattacks

About Kate
Kate Mattacks is a Senior Lecturer in Drama at UWE. After completing a PhD on M. E. Braddon at Keele, she has worked on two AHRC projects within the field of Victorian drama: The Victorian Plays Project, a web-based resource of over 350 Victorian plays and the 'Buried Treasures' Project based at Royal Holloway/British Library, extending the catalogue for the Lord Chamberlain's Collection of licensing manuscripts. She has written articles on subjects including Braddon, the theatrical publisher T. H. Lacy, Victorian anti-feminism, spiritualism, staging speech disability and dramatic piracy. She is currently working on a monograph entitled After Lady Audley: M. E. Braddon, Sensation Fiction and the Stage and a project on perceptions of disability on the Victorian stage.
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This article outlines the scope, editorial choices, structure and research potential behind two major AHRC-funded projects which came to fruition at the end of 2008 offering a major contribution to the emerging field of Victorian theatre studies. The 'Buried Treasures' Project at Royal Holloway, University of London, and the British Library, provides a catalogue of all the plays that passed through the Lord Chamberlain's Office from 1852 to 1863, revealing a unique picture of interconnections between themes, theatres and playwrights as well as key information on authors, commissioning managers, dates and the licensing process. The Victorian Plays Project, based at Worcester University, allows free, public access to over 360 printed Acting Editions published by T.H. Lacy from 1847 to 1875, providing searchable materials to encourage research and future performances. Whilst the Lord Chamberlain's Plays form a unique, near complete collection of manuscripts for the professional theatre, the material for the Victorian Plays Project illustrates the resulting industry in publishing playscripts for practical use by provincial and amateur companies. Tracing the differences and areas of convergence, the two projects form an impression of a neglected cultural milieu, articulating the challenge of cataloguing and digitising the performative text. They also demonstrate the extent and flexibility of their output in terms of genre, revealing important links between in-house authors, theatres and publishing houses.What becomes clear through the 'unearthing', collation and identification of these materials is that it is only as they become more accessible that we can begin to challenge the long-held assumptions about Victorian drama and explore the complex interconnections between remediated cultural forms and frames of reference.
How to Cite: Radcliffe, C. and Mattacks, K., 2009. From Analogues to Digital: New Resources in Nineteenth-Century Theatre. 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century, (8), p.None. DOI:
Published on 01 Apr 2009.
Peer Reviewed


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