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Staging Napoleonic Theatre

This is an AHRC-funded project to stage performances of Napoleonic-era plays at the Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond and Portchester Castle (English Heritage).


  • We are working with the Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond to produce a community performance in a week of Pixerécourt's La Forteresse du Danube (1805) in translation. It will have a professional director, Sarah Wynne Kordas, and a professional orchestra, led by music historian and professional violinist Dr Diane Tisdall. Pixerécourt was one of the most performed playwrights in the first part of the 19th century and his success was worldwide, not just limited to France. He was the leading exponent of melodrama, a form of early 19th-century theatre which combined sentimental plot devices with grand spectacle and comedy. The Richmond performance will take place during the town’s annual Georgian festival and will be an exciting opportunity for local amateur actors as well as a great night out for local audiences! The performance will take place on Friday 25th August at 7.30pm. Follow us on twitter @actingmelodrama
  • We are also working with the curators, historians and reinterpretation manager at Portchester Castle, an English Heritage property where French prisoners of war performed theatre to entertain not just themselves but also the local population during the Napoleonic wars. English Heritage launch a reinterpretion of the site in July 2017 and are installing a stage in the basement of the Keep where the plays were put on to give visitors an idea of the prisoners' theatre. On Thursday 20th July, the historical interpretation company Past Pleasures will be performing one of the prisoners' own plays, a melodrama entitled Roseliska, to a local audience.The project team are advising on all aspects of this performance and project postdoc Diane Tisdall will be musical director.


These two initiatives offer the opportunity for innovative dissemination of our research as well as generating new findings through performance.

For more information, please contact the project leader, katherine dot astbury at warwick dot ac dot uk