The 1818-1819 Season

By Franklin Case

The 1818-1819 season was the last under the ownership and management of John Scott. The theatre was sold to James Rodwell and Willis Jones at the conclusion of the season. From then on, with occasional exceptions, it was known as the Adelphi Theatre.

This season opened on 19 October 1818, with Bachelor's Miseries; or, The Double Disappointment, Kiss in the Ring; or, Who Stole the Apples, The Inscription; or, The Indian Hunters. On the bill, Miss Scott is described as not related to "persons of that name now performing elsewhere." In British Stage on 19 October regarding Bachelor's Miseries, the following comment was made: "It is much to be regretted that in a piece so short, a great deal of room should have been found for some very indecent dialogue."

In this season, a remarkable number of performances were admired by the Royal Family, as evinced by notations on the bills. Of course, this occurred after the death of Queen Charlotte Sophia. The theatre was dark in mourning for her death from 18 November 1818, through 2 December 1818. The bill for The Prince of Persia; or, The Dog and the Assassin reveals that the actor Avery had received "reiterated bursts of applause from His Royal Highness, the Prince of Orange, the Emperor Alexander, the King of Prussia, in Holland."

Master Bidder performed on 18 March 1819. He was exhibited as a child by his father as a "calculating phenomenon" and appeared in Stratagems; or, The Lost Treasure. George Parker Bidder became an engineer and was associated with George Stephenson and the construction of London's Victoria Docks. The bill proudly noted "Master Bidder has had the approbation of the Royal Family and many persons of distinction."

An address was given by Smollett on the closing of the theatre on the last night of the season, 3 April 1819. Also, an advertisement records that "persons having any demands on this concern are desired to send in their accounts with all convenient speed, that the same may be discharged." And so the Strand Theatre, The Sans Pareil closed its doors to reopen under new management the following season as the Adelphi.

© Copyright 1988 by Alfred L. Nelson and Gilbert B. Cross

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