Rogues & Vagabonds

theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013…

First Night Design | “His profession made him rich…”

First Night Design

David Garrick as Benedict in Much Ado About Nothing 1770 © Sarah Vernon David Garrick as Benedict in Much Ado About Nothing 1770 © Sarah Vernon

Often referred to as the first modern practitioner, actor-manager, poet and dramatist David Garrick [1717 – 1779] was a treasure not to miss when visiting 18th century London. A show at Drury Lane, a theatre he managed for almost thirty years, was de rigueur. The original painting from which this print was taken was done in 1770 by Jean Louis Fesch.

‘By the time of his retirement in 1776, [David} Garrick’s reforms had revitalised the theatre. He had put it at the heart of English culture. He had established the centrality of Shakespeare and, above all, he had made the theatre fashionable. At a funeral appropriate for a head of state, dukes and earls competed to carry his coffin. Dr [Samuel] Johnson wrote: “His profession made him rich and he made his profession respectable.”‘ Max Stafford-Clark in The…

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