Theater Royal Manager’s Handbook: 1795


I was excited to get my hands on a theater manager’s handbook from Theater Royal on Drury Lane. The manager at the time was Richard Brinkley Sheridan known for writing School for Scandal. In the cover of the book is some handwriting, Dora Jordan’s perhaps–it matches hers, and the notation that there were six plays and six handbooks.

Mrs. Jordan as Hippolyta
A caricature of Dora Jordan from The Manager’s Book at the Theater Royal, Drury Lane, printed by R. Butters. Playing a man allowed audiences to see her lovely legs and also let her wear her hair naturally during the time of high hair and tight corkscrews. This gave people a lot to gossip about. Compare her shoes and hat with those of an actual man below. Clever costuming, is it not? Since the players owned their costumes, this cleverness can be attributed to the actress herself. It was also somewhat expected.


she would pages
Cast list and first page. The long s indicates this was printed before 1800.


Above is a cast list and the first page of the play “She Would and She Would Not.” Note the long s, showing that this was pre 1800.

Mr Lewis
Mr. Lewis wasn’t as famous as Mrs. Jordan. As best I can tell, like Mrs. Jordan, he’d previously worked for Tate Wilkinson in the Yorkshire circuit. The play is The Suspicious Husband
After two hundred and twenty one years, the cover is not in great shape

I’d be glad to answer further questions about this book for all who are curious about its history.

Those who know me know that I love live theater, especially old  comedies. I like live theater so much, I don’t even care if it’s bad. Natural Attraction includes some bad theater and a traveling cast of “actors” as was common in the days before movies and television.


Wolves and Deer is a novel about Dora Jordan herself. If you’re a theater fan, be sure to check it out.

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