Well after all that Dick last week there’s only one way to go. This time we are not mentioning certain things: Anything too political, or just plain lewd, anything that could have been censored by the Lord Chamberlain in days gone by. Because this week is theatre licensing and censorship through the ages.
Fancy a nice cup of hot chocolate while you listen? That was one of the dodges used by wily producer Samuel Foote at the Theatre on the Haymarket. Painted here by Jean François Colson. Do we discuss Foote's
other great theatrical legacy? Of course we do!
The rules Foote was bending came into force in 1737. After a parliament heard of a scandalous play called the Golden Rump. Our cover image for this blog is a satirical print from that time, supposedly depicting action from the play, which featured George II, Queen Caroline and Robert Walpole. But the story of the play itself is far from clear.
Charles Macklin has appeared in the pod before, he makes a cameo appearance here, as a playwright rather than an actor. Struggling to get his work past the censors.
By the 1960s the rules were being tested in all directions. The new playrights of the Royal Court – the angry young men, were pushing the boundaries. Even the most established West End producer Binkie Beamont was bending the rules to put on shows. And eventually, out of step with the times, the Lord Chamberlain’s office had had it’s day.
This is a fabulous image of Binkie by Angus Bean, from the V&A collection. Titled: Binkie pulls the strings.
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