This chapter brings Charles Dibdin the Younger centre stage, facilitating an assessment of longer-term changes in the late Georgian cultural economy. The focus is the decline of Dibdin’s management of Sadler’s Wells in the years after 1814. The theatre’s wartime success rested on its spectacular, patriotic, aquatic pantomimes, yet a combination of the tense postwar political climate, the changing social constituency of the area in which the theatre was situated, and an increasing disinclination towards the mixed performances the theatre offered all played a part in the losses the theatre sustained in the late 1810s. The author draws a parallel between the decline of Sadler’s Wells and Dibdin’s poetic romance Young Arthur (1819), which, while enthusiastically received by some, was too much of a ‘medley’ to satisfy others. In both the literary and theatrical fields, tastes were changing, leaving practitioners uncertain of their place in this new theatrical economy.
Valladares, S. (2018). ‘The Changing Theatrical Economy: Charles Dibdin the Younger at Sadler’s Wells, 1814–19’. In O. Cox Jensen, D. Kennerley, & I. Newman (Eds.), Charles Dibdin and Late Georgian Culture (171-188). Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198812425.003.0012