The website explores the topic of theatre censorship in Britain 1737-1843. It hosts 40 carefully selected play manuscripts submitted to the Examiner of Plays who had the primary responsibility of safeguarding the morals of theatre audiences after the passage of the Stage Licensing Act of 1737. The manuscripts are drawn from the Larpent Collection (Huntington Library, Los Angeles) and the Lord Chamberlain’s Plays (British Library, London) and have been carefully selected to show the variety of reasons a play might be deemed inappropriate through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Each manuscript is accompanied by an author bio, plot synopsis, reception history, and commentary on the censorship. The editorial apparatus amounts to 95,000 words in total.
Specifically of interest to ACIS members is the inclusion of a number of Irish playwrights and/or plays of Irish interest. These include Thomas Moore, MP; or, The Bluestocking (1811); Elizabeth Griffith, The Platonic Wife (1765); Charles Macklin, Covent Garden Theatre (1752) and The Man of the World (1770); Kane O’Hara, The Golden Pippin (1772); John O’Keeffe, Quarter Day (1800); Anon. Fingal; or, Erin Delivered (1813); Anon. Giovanni in Ireland (1821); and, Joseph Stirling Coyne, The Humours of an Election (1837).