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date: 17 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

What did audiences see when they watched a performance on the eighteenth-century stage? And how did they understand what they saw? What was the relationship between performers and the sets, props, costumes, architecture and machinery of the theatre? This chapter examines spectacle in drama, pantomime and opera as part of the burgeoning visual culture that characterized metropolitan public life in the Georgian period. It also investigates the intricate relationship between stage design and mechanical trades, the liberal arts and science, as well as tensions between drama as a literary medium akin to poetry, and the stage spectacle which notionally promoted sensuality over judgement.

Keywords: scenography, opera, pantomime, scene design, landscape, spectacle, Royal Academy

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