In the long eighteenth century, assembly rooms became an established institution in Britain’s towns and cities, growing in number over the course of the ‘century’. Assembly rooms across Great Britain became the physical and social heart of the community, places where men and women could meet to converse, dance, and attend lectures and concerts.
Au milieu du XVIe siècle, certains princes européens fortunés commencent à réunir des collections d’objets précieux, ou mirabilia, issus de la nature (naturalia) ou des arts (artificialia). La rareté de ces objets, leur excellence, leur bizarrerie énigmatique provoquent l’admiration. C’est l’étonnement devant la beauté ou la monstruosité qui désigne ces pièces comme des curiosités à élucider, et à montrer dans des ‘cabinets’.
At London’s Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, sociability practices were realized, queried and transformed by actors and audiences. This entry describes the theatre’s physical spaces, then considers modes of sociability within the theatre, from normative theatre-going practices to disruptions such as riots.
In the so-called ‘long‘ eighteenth century (starting in 1660), the theatre can be seen as sociable space more than a site for a purely aesthetic experience. The sociability of the theatre however goes far beyond the space of the physical theatre itself.
The analysis of theatrical prologues and epilogues, and of the sociological make-up of audiences and performance spaces, paints a picture of London theatre during the long eighteenth century as a complex ecosystem of sociabilities in which socio-economics and gender dynamics converged, making it a prime space of sociability.
Georgian menageries are to be seen as the predecessors to the more formal zoological societies of the Victorian era. As the British Empire expanded, private and public menageries were populated by exotic animals seen as objects of fascination and wonder and whose aim was to entertain visitors and guests as well as to satisfy the curiosity for the animal world.