Stage Licensing Act (182 words)

Historical Context Note

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[Preliminary entry]. This Act was passed on 21st June 1737 to require that all theatres either hold a royal patent or receive a special licence from the Lord Chamberlain, and that new plays for which admission was to be charged were submitted to the Lord Chamberlain two weeks in advance of performance. The Lord Chamberlain could require changes as a condition of granting permission to the staging.

The cause of the Act was the wave of theatrical satires which mocked Robert Walpole's government and the Hannoverian monarchy, notable amongst them Henry Fielding's wildly popular satire on Walpole, The Historical Register for the Year 1736, which …

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Editors. "Stage Licensing Act". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 25 March 2004
[, accessed 14 December 2018.]

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