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Theatre History Podcast #45

Rethinking Amateur Theatricals with David Coates



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 [email protected] or connect with him on Twitter at @DavidJCoates.

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Thoughts from the curator

This podcast aims to introduce listeners to the artists, scholars, and archivists who are working to bring the history of performance to life. We hope that, by listening to this show, you’ll learn about exciting new performances, fascinating books, and valuable repositories of knowledge, all of which will help you better understand theatre’s history.

Theatre History Podcast


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