I intend to investigate the impact of social, economic and technological changes on the performance of Shakespeare’s plays in Manchester from the establishment of the first theatre in 1753 until the end of Queen Victoria’s reign in 1901.
For example, on 4th June 1805, The Tempest was performed at the Theatre Royal. Could this choice of play, with its emphasis on monarchy as the natural form of government and royalist ideals, be seen as a call to preserve the established ruling hierarchy in the face of social upheaval?
As for technological advances, I may find that the arrival of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1830 and the subsequent rapid expansion of the railway network increased theatre attendances and enabled actors and audiences to travel from further afield.
I also intend to establish if there was any impact on the way plays were taught at schools and other educational establishments.