We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Research & business

View Profile

Publication details for Dr Susan Valladares

Valladares, Susan (2018). ‘The Changing Theatrical Economy: Charles Dibdin the Younger at Sadler’s Wells, 1814–19’. In The Art of Miscellany: Charles Dibdin and Late Georgian Culture. Cox Jensen, Oskar, Kennerley, David & Newman, Ian Oxford: Oxford University Press. 171-188.

Author(s) from Durham


This chapter brings Charles Dibdin the Younger centre stage, facilitating an assessment of longer-term changes in the late Georgian cultural economy. The focus is the decline of Dibdin’s management of Sadler’s Wells in the years after 1814. The theatre’s wartime success rested on its spectacular, patriotic, aquatic pantomimes, yet a combination of the tense postwar political climate, the changing social constituency of the area in which the theatre was situated, and an increasing disinclination towards the mixed performances the theatre offered all played a part in the losses the theatre sustained in the late 1810s. The author draws a parallel between the decline of Sadler’s Wells and Dibdin’s poetic romance Young Arthur (1819), which, while enthusiastically received by some, was too much of a ‘medley’ to satisfy others. In both the literary and theatrical fields, tastes were changing, leaving practitioners uncertain of their place in this new theatrical economy.