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Jacob Tonson

The London Theatres 1660 to 1703

Titles in bold are first performances

Theatre Royal, Drury Lane (DL)

Lincoln’s Inn Fields (LIF)

Dorset Garden (DG)

1660

9 July: Grant issued to Killigrew to form a company of players called the King’s Company or King’s Men. No other companies to be allowed except for the one granted to Sir William Davenant under a warrant from Charles I. 19 July: Another warrant, this time to both Killigrew and Davenant, saying essentially the same thing. 5 November: King’s Men formally established. They did a few performances at the Red Bull then moved into Gibbon’s Tennis Court, Vere Street. 8 November: Open with Henry IV Part 1. 9 November: The Merry Wives of Windsor. 8 December: Othello with Desdemona played by the first woman on the stage.

19 July: A warrant to both Killigrew and Davenant includes strict commands to exclude all profanation and obscenity from plays. 5 November: Duke’s Men formally established. 15 November: Duke’s Men move to Salibury Court Theatre. They are composed of the company of new actors put together by Rhodes, a bookseller, at the Cockpit, including Rhodes’s apprentice Thomas Betterton.

1661

3 Jan: Pepys sees a woman on the stage for the first time in Beggar’s Bush. 20 December: Killigrew obtains 41-year lease from the Earl of Bedford for a plot of land off Drury Lane.

29 January: First recorded performance at Salisbury Court by Duke’s Men: The Maid in the Mill by Fletcher and Rowley. Duke’s Men close at Salisbury Court in April and move to LIF.28 June: First performance is The Siege of Rhodes Part I by William Davenant with perspective scenery.

1662

25 April: Killigrew receives patent.

1663

7 May: First Theatre Royal, Drury Lane opens with The Humorous Lieutenant by Beaumont and Fletcher.

15 January: Davenant receives patent.

1664

April: Love in a Tub by George Etherege.

1665

5 June: Order closing the theatres until further notice following outbreak of plague.

1666

Following Great Fire of London, performances begin again at the end of November.

1667

February: Secret Love by John Dryden with Nell Gwynne.

1668

6 February: She Would if She Could by George Etherege.

1669

1670

December: The Conquest of Granada Part 1 by John Dryden.

1671

January: The Conquest of Granada Part 2 by John Dryden. March: Love in a Wood by William Wycherley. October/November: Marriage à la Mode by John Dryden. December: The Rehearsal by the Duke of Buckingham.

Duke’s Men move to Dorset Garden.

Duke’s Men move to Dorset Garden. 9 November: First performance is Sir Martin Mar-all by John Dryden.

1672

25 January: First Theatre Royal burns down.

26 February: King’s Men move to Lincoln’s Inn Fields and open with Wit Without Money by John Fletcher.

6 February: The Gentleman Dancing Master by William Wycherley.

1673

1674

26 March: Second Theatre Royal opens with Beggar’s Bush by John Fletcher.

Closes.

1675

January: The Country Wife by William Wycherley.

1676

December: The Plain Dealer by William Wycherley.

March: The Man of Mode by George Etherege.

1677

1678

1679

1680

1681

Prolonged closure following squabbling under management of Charles Killigrew.

1682

United Company formed. 4 May: Articles of Union signed.

Remains open for spectacular shows.

1683

1684

1685

3 June: Albion & Albanius by John Dryden, music by Louis Grabu.

1686

1687

Charles Davenant sells his share to his brother Alexander.

1688

1689

1690

June: The Prophetess by John Fletcher/Thomas Betterton/Henry Purcell.

1691

May: King Arthur by John Dryden and Henry Purcell.

1692

2 May: The Fairy Queen by Henry Purcell.

1693

March: The Old Bachelor by William Congreve. July: Enquiry into company finances published. 23 October: Alexander Davenant flees to Canary Islands. October: The Double Dealer by William Congreve. December: Thomas Skipwith and Christopher Rich revealed to be in control of the company.

1694

November: Petition of Players against Rich and Skipwith presented to Lord Chamberlain by Betterton + 14. 10 December: Reply of the Patentees. 28 December: Death of Queen Mary closes all theatres until Easter Monday 1695.

1695

1 April: DL re-opens with revival of Abdelazar by Aphra Behn, music by Purcell.

Betterton leads rebel actors to set up The New Theatre under licence issued 25 March by the Lord Chamberlain. 30 April: New Theatre opens with Love for Love by William Congreve.

April: Revival of John Dryden’s The Indian Queen with music by Henry Purcell.

1696

January: Love’s Last Shift by Colley Cibber. 21 November: The Relapse by John Vanbrugh.

1697

April: The Provok’d Wife by John Vanbrugh.

1698

December: Love and a Bottle by George Farquhar.

1699

November: The Constant Couple by George Farquhar.

Christopher Rich is thrown out for not paying rent.

1700

29 April: The Secular Masque by John Dryden.

9 Jan: Kit-Cats support Betterton as Falstaff. 5 March: The Way of the World by William Congreve.

1701

Sir Harry Wildair by George Farquhar.

1702

1703

30 April: Performance by some of Rich’s actors. May: Announcement that theatre is being refitted for opera. This doesn’t happen.

After a few last performances in 1706, the theatre is pulled down in 1709.