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Community theatre, school plays, and other examples of performances by non-professional actors don’t often don’t get a lot of respect or scholarly attention. David Coates, who’s in the closing stages of his doctorate at the University of Warwick, is trying to change that. He’s one of a growing group of scholars who are reassessing amateur theatre (in his case, specifically in Britain in the long nineteenth century, 1789-1914) and finding that its history is far more complex and interesting than we’d previously assumed.

playbill for an amateur performance
Playbill for an evening of amateur performances, including The Merry Wives of Windsor, at the Theatre Royal, Birmingham, 1848. Via Folger Shakespeare Library.


  • If you are interested to hear more about David’s research, or have some information you’d like to share with him, please contact him on or connect with him on Twitter at @DavidJCoates.

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