The beginnings of Whitehaven's theatre, 1769-82

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According to research published in an article by J. Roderick Webb in the Northern Review (vol. 2 no. 2, Oct. 1947), theatrical performances were given at the Assembly Room in Howgill Street, Whitehaven, from at least 1756 (the date of a surviving play-bill), and in October 1767, the imminent opening of a new theatre on Albion Street was announced. That opening may, however, have been delayed, for the following report appears in the London Public Advertiser for 28 October 1768:
"The New Theatre at Whitehaven being elegantly fitted up, it was opened on the 12th instant; when the Clandestine Marriage, and Thomas and Sally, were performed to a polite and numerous audience."

It has long been known that the theatre on Roper Street in Whitehaven, Cumbria, which served the town until early in the 20th century, was opened in 1769- Webb notes the existence of a deed for the site, dated March of that year, and again, a playbill for one of the earliest performances was preserved. However, because there was no newspaper published in Cumbria at the time, details of the theatre's beginnings have remained somewhat obscure. Luckily though, the founders of the theatre came from Newcastle upon Tyne, where newspapers had been published for several decades, and the Newcastle Courant was happy to report on the local company's westward expansion:

Newcastle Courant, 25 Feb 1769
We hear there is a new and elegant THEATRE now building at Whitehaven, for Messrs Austin and Heatton's Company of COMEDIANS, by subscription of eight of the principal gentlemen of that place, and that it is to be built after the plan of the Theatre Royal in Dublin, which is in a cemi circle, and when finished will be as elegant a Theatre as any in England, London excepted.

Plan of the Roper Street theatre, Whitehaven, c1860[It is not clear what is meant by the claim that the Dublin Theatre Royal was in a "cemi circle". Judging from John Thomas Gilbert's "History of the City of Dublin" (1859) the notable thing about the Theatre Royal, on Crow Street, was not any oddity of shape (it seems to have had the normal arrangement of a rectangular auditorium with gallery, 15.5 metres wide, with a stage 11 metres wide, overlooked by boxes on both sides) but the depth of the stage from front to back- an impressive 27.5 metres, enabling, for example, a warrior king to make a grand entrance on a chariot. Compare those measurements with the plan here of the Whitehaven theatre!]

Newcastle Courant, 1 Apr 1769
We hear that the Wood Hall in West Chester, is now fitting up in an elegant theatrical manner, for the reception of Mess. Austin and Heatton's Company of Comedians, to perform there the ensuing summer; and that a Subscription will be opened in the race week (which is already honoured with the patronage of some persons of distinction) for the building a new Theatre, for which, it is said, great interest is making to procure his Majesty's Royal Licence.

[Clearly the company was in the throes of a major expansion in 1769. "West Chester," by the way, is Chester in Cheshire, as distinct from Chester near Newcastle, now officially known as Chester-le-Street]

Newcastle Courant, 8 Apr 1769
York, April 4. We hear that his Majesty's patent for licensing the York and Hull theatres has gone through the several offices, and will be here on Friday next; and that the theatre will be opened under the sanction of it on Saturday the 8th instant.

[The York theatre had been opened several years earlier, but in 1768 its manager, Tate Wilkinson, had decided to expand and open another in Hull. It seems that Austin and Heatton's expansion was partly intended to restrict Wilkinson's. According to Wikipedia, Wilkinson's patent, giving him the right to use the name "Theatre Royal" in Hull and York, cost him £500.]

Newcastle Courant, 18 Nov 1769
Whitehaven, Nov 14. Our Theatre, which is built upon the model of that in Crow-street, Dublin, is now most elegantly fitted up, and is allowed to be as neat and more convenient than any other in England: It was opened with great applause on Wednesday the 8th inst. by Mess. Heatton and Austin's Company of Comedians, with the Busy Body, and Wit's Last Stake, to a very numerous and genteel audience.

["The Busy Body" written in 1709 by Susanna Centlivre, was one of the most popular plays of the 18th and early 19th centuries, a hectic comedy of arranged marriage versus true love. "Wit's Last Stake" by Thomas King, was the latest hit farce from London, first performed in 1768. N.B. In the Prologue below, Melpomene was the Muse of Tragedy in Greek legend; "The Padlock", misspelled in the Prologue, was another 1768 theatrical hit, a comic opera with a West Indian slave as its central character (then played by a white actor in makeup, but later a successful role for black actors)]

Spoken by Mr HEATTON

"THE husbandman with industry and toil,
May yearly cultivate the hungry soil,
In hopes to gain a competence to live,
And for his care and trouble, fruit receive:
But vain his hope of gath'ring ripen'd fruit,
Since what should feed the tree destroys the root:
Th' unladen boughs, alas! bring certain dearth,
Unless transplanted to some kinder earth.
    But we, the husbands of the stage, have found
A nobler fruit from off this fertile ground;
From the old tree the laden boughs we've prov'd,
And still we hope the same from stocks remov'd;
Well may we hope, while you so kindly aid;
We'll plant a soil which you so rich have made!
As nature gave to man the world's first age,
So from your bounty we receeive this stage."
    Let us, our duty then in thanks repay,
To you the Patrons of this wish'd-for day;
This day with gratitude our hearts inspire,
To please you all, is what we most desire;
Nor will we fail to do our best endeavour
T' gain applause- blest with your smiles, your favour.
From year to year, we'll nightly pay DEVOIRS,
And for the space of four dull winter hours,
Present you with the best that we can find,
To please the taste, or to instruct the mind.
    Melpomene shall rant in frantic rage,
With bowl and dagger on our maiden stage;
Thalia too, from Congreve's muse shall skim
The cream of nature, novelty and whim:
With farce, with opera, with pantomime,
Sometimes in simple prose, sometimes in rhime,
We'll entertain- your pleasure to inhance,
To Orpheus' lyre, the very sheep shall dance-
If for sweet music, Ladies, you're inclined,
We'll have a Padloc for each Lady's mind;
Or if in show and grandeur you delight,
With rich magnificence we'll feast your sight;
Where crowns, where cor'nets, and robes of state,
In ample order our procession wait;
Where lords and ladies of high rank and station,
Will all attend to grace th' Coronation.
    Nor care nor cost is wanting on our part,
To give delight, or to make glad the heart:
A candid censure then, let's beg from all;
Since by your favours, we must stand or fall.

Newcastle Courant, 16 Dec 1769
A letter from Whitehaven, dated Dec. 5, mentions, that last night was performed the Tragedy of King Richard, in which was introduced the Coronation, which was certainly the most magnificent and brilliant performance that ever was produced out of a London theatre, and the most expensive; the elegance and grandeur of the robes, dresses, and regalia surpassed even the warmest expectation of the spectators, which were very numerous. From the great satisfaction it gave, it was thought that the next night the house would be equally thronged, especially as Mr Austin and Mr Heatton declared, they could not possibly perform it any more, as they were obliged to go on immediately with the benefits, as they had promised, with all convenient speed, to pay their respects to the ladies and gentlemen at Newcastle, and intended paying an earlier visit next season at Whitehaven; and that from the great encouragement this New Theatre had met with, they are determined never to spare any expense to produce all their performances with equal splendour and propriety.

["Benefits" were performances intended to allow audiences to show their appreciation of particular performers, at the end of a touring entertainment company's season in a particular town, with the proceeds from each benefit performance going to the person named in the adverts. There were presumably several of these at Whitehaven, as the company did not commence its season in Newcastle until 17 January. Also, the next year's season at Whitehaven evidently did start earlier, as indicated by the following report:]

Newcastle Courant, 27 Oct 1770
By a letter from Whitehaven, we are informed, that the Corsican Fairy entertain'd the company at the New Theatre in Roper's Street with Singing and Dancing between the Acts: There was a very brilliant and numerous Audience, who expressed the highest satisfaction at the evening entertainment, and a Gentleman sent her the next morning the following copy of verses.
To MARIA TERESA, the Corsican Fairy, only 34 Inches high, and 27 Years old.
Shapely diminutive! in vain our eyes
Thy frame to find a blemish scrutinize;
With such proportion every limb is wrought,
And with such lively grace each feature fraught,
As speaks thee not the work of sport, but thought.
Females in miniature before we've seen,
And things that bore the name of little men;
But these were forms productive of affright,
As thou of admiration, and delight;
Shock'd nature started at the hideous view,
For these were monsters, but a model thou.

[By 17 November, Maria Teresia (the correct spelling) was in Newcastle, and the theatre company followed a few weeks later, opening their season there on 17 December]

Now we skip forward a decade, pausing only to note a couple of significant events, and to observe that, contrary to the confident pronouncements of earlier researchers, there is a worrying absence of references to the Theatre in the first few dozen issues of Whitehaven's earliest successful newspaper, the Cumberland Pacquet, established in 1774 (closer investigation required, I think).

Westminster Journal and London Political Miscellany, 28 September 1771
(and other papers):
Mr. Austin, formerly of Drury-lane Theatre, has, within these few weeks, married a Lady of 14,000£ fortune, near Whitehaven in Cumberland. She is near ninety years of age, and it is said her relations are determined to apply, in order to obtain a statute of Lunacy against her.

About April 1777, Mr Heatton's place as partner with Mr Austin was taken by a Mr Whitlock, and it was reported from Newcastle that Mr Heatton's farewell performance took place on 18 April. However, it seems he could not quite tear himself away...

Cumberland Chronicle, 10 Dec 1778:
[On 11 Dec, at 6.30pm, his Majesty's servants present, at the Theatre in Whitehaven, the tragedy called "The REVENGE", with Mr Heatton as Zanga the Moor] "Being positively his last Appearance on any Stage"

It has been suggested that the theatre on Roper Steet, Whitehaven, acquired the name "Theatre Royal" by custom, because the Austin and Whitlock company which ran it had performed for Royalty. That's not quite how it happened; here begins a story of bitter rivalry....

Cumberland Pacquet, 6 Apr 1779:
A neat and convenient Theatre was opened at Workington last night, by Mr. Cuthell. From the general character of the company, it is presumed that place and its environs will be very agreeably entertained for a few nights. The admired comedy of the School for Scandal will be performed to-morrow. [See the advertisement].

At the Theatre in Workington,
On WEDNESDAY, April 7th,
Will be performed a celebrated COMEDY called The
As performed in London with universal applause, and with much greater Success than any Piece ever met with upon the English Stage.
[full cast given]
A New Picture Scene,
Painted by Mr. CARTER of Whitehaven.

With   a   F A R C E
As will be expressed in the Bills of the Day.
TICKETS to be had at the Inns; and of Mr. Cuthell at his Lodgings. To begin at Seven o'clock.
PIT 2s. ---- GALLERY 1s. ---- Second GALLERY 6d.
[Subsequent adverts do not mention the second gallery]

Cumberland Pacquet, 13 Apr 1779:
Yesterday [Monday] evening (by desire of several Ladies and Gentlemen) the School for Scandal with the entertainment of the Quaker, was performed at Workington, by Mr. Cuthell's company of comedians.- The comedy is to be performed again tomorrow evening.

Cumberland Pacquet, 18 May 1779:
Wednesday last the celebrated Comedy of the School for Scandal was performed at Workington by Mr. Cuthell's company. A large party of the military gentlemen, with several ladies and gentlemen from Cockermouth were present, and expressed their approbation of the performance. The affecting historical Tragedy of the Albion Queens, or the Death of Mary Queen of Scots, with The Devil to Pay, will be performed to-morrow evening.

Cumberland Pacquet, 25 May 1779:
Wednesday last the Comedy of the WONDER was performed at Workington, for the Benefit of Mr. and Mrs. CUTHELL; the audience was much greater than any before at that place, and great numbers of people were returned at the door. The Company will open a Theatre at CARLISLE in a few days, the particulars of which will be advertised.

Cumberland Pacquet, 1 Jun 1779:
Mr Cuthell's company of comedians intend performing a few nights at Cockermouth, previous to their opening the theatre at Carlisle. [See the advertisement.]

The last performance of the season at Workington was advertised as the tragedy Sir Thomas Overbury, with the farce High Life Below Stairs, on 2 June ("The STAGE this Evening will be decorated with A NEW AND ELEGANT EMBLEMATICAL FRONTISPIECE (Painted by Mr. CARTER of Whitehaven) Shewing Mr. GARRICK placed between the TWO CONTENDING MUSES. And also a NEW LIBRARY SCENE."). The season at the Theatre in Cockermouth, "For TWELVE NIGHTS only, and positively no longer." was to commence on 7 June, with "The Fathers, or the Good Natured Man", a new comedy adapted by the late lamented David Garrick from the work of the ditto Henry Fielding, accompanied by a farce "The Invasion, or A Trip to Brighthelmstone". Performance commenced 7pm; tickets from the local inns of from Mr Cuthell at his lodgings: Pit 2s, Gallery 1s.

Cumberland Pacquet, 22 Jun 1779:
Cockermouth, June 18, 1779.
MR CUTHILL, takes this Opportunity, to inform the Ladies and Gentlemen of CARLISLE, that he intends opening the Theatre in that City, on WEDNESDAY, JULY 7th, with the much admired COMEDY of The
School for Scandal,
With an entire new Set of SCENES, DECORATIONS, &c. &c.
A Report having been industriously circulated, intimating that Messrs. Austin and Whitlock intend fitting up a Theatre in Carlisle, next Summer ---- Mr. Cuthill thinks it his Duty to solicit the Support and Assistance of his Friends, and flatters himself (from the Satisfaction he is sensible his Company will give this Summer; from the unwearied Attention he shall pay to the Service of the Public, in preparing the newest and best Pieces for their Entertainment, and from the private Behaviour of the Performers he shall bring to Carlisle) that he shall continue to merit the future as well as the present Patronage he is honoured with, and effectually defeat the mean, ungenerous Designs of two Men who think themselves authorised, by a fancied Pre-eminence, to dispossess every other Company of honestly obtaining a Subsistance from the exertion of Endeavours equally laudable as theirs, and not less deserving the Sanction of an impartial and indulgent Public.

Cumberland Pacquet, 6 Jul 1779:
To the Right Worshipful Mayor, Aldermen, and the rest of the Corporation, Ladies, Gentlemen and Public in general of Carlisle.
Managers of the Theatre-Royal in Chester, and Theatres in Newcastle and Whitehaven, most respectfully address you for your Patronage to pursue their intended Plan of fitting up a Place in Carlisle for Theatrical Entertainments, and offer their own and Company's Abilities, to contribute to your Amusement for a few Weeks (including the Race Week) next Summer. The Reason of this early Application, and public Address, is forced by an insolent Advertisement inserted by a Mr. CUTHELL, in the Cumberland Pacquet, wherein their Names are mentioned, which they treat with the just Contempt it deserves. As the judicious Public will be convinced from the well known Reputation of their Company, their great Theatrical Connnexions, and many other favourable Circumstances, that they certainly can entertain you in a much superior manner, and produce all their Plays in a more elegant and Theatrical Stile than can possibly be in the Power of any little itinerant Company who arrogate to themselves a Species of Theatrical Merit which they are intirely unacquainted with.

Cumberland Pacquet, 20 Jul 1779:
AT the THEATRE in PENRITH, on WEDNESDAY Evening, the 21st of JULY, 1779, will be presented a celebrated COMEDY called,
The School for Scandal. [etc.]
To begin as soon as the Race is over.
As the Company play no longer this Season than next Week, they humbly hope to meet with the Encouragement and Approbation of the Public.
[This was of course Mr Cuthell's company again.]

Cumberland Pacquet, 19 Oct 1779:
We are assured there will be no plays here this season.
[Many issues of the Cumberland Pacquet from autumn 1779 to autumn 1780 are missing, so it is difficult to be sure whether this claim proved accurate. In the meantime, here is a brief interlude:]

Cumberland Pacquet, 4 Mar 1780:
Tuesday se'nnight was performed at Drury-Lane theatre, London, for the first time, the comedy of the Belles Stratagem, written by Mrs Cowley (wife of Mr Cowley, late of Cockermouth) which was received with the most uncommon applause. One of the scenes in particular is said to possess more true comic humour than any other the English stage can boast of; and through the whole piece are happily blended the greatest characteristics of the laughing muse, wit, humour, plot, and incident. [Mischievously brilliant feminist Hannah Cowley's husband Thomas was the son of Mrs Mary Cowley, a bookseller in Cockermouth]

Newcastle Courant, 6 May 1780:
Our Season ended here [i.e. Newcastle] on Friday the 28th of April, with the FASHIONABLE LOVER, and the Farce of the CRITIC, which was performed for Mr AUSTIN's BENEFIT, to a crouded and brilliant audience. ... At the conclusion, Mr Austin addressed the ladies and Gentlemen in a very polite speech, and rerturned his most grateful thanks for the many favours received., and their kind approbation of his conduct as Manager; and begged Leave to inform them, that he found it necessary to dissolve the present Company, as he was sensible they had not used their best endeavours to merit those favours they had received; and as he was answerable to the public to have all the Plays, &c. performed with the full force of the Company: those who had not complied with his particular desire in the execution of their business, he had discharged, and assured the public, he had already taken particular care to engage others to supply their different parts. ...

Cumberland Pacquet, 31 Oct 1780:
Theatre, Roper-street
THE THEATRE in ROPER-STREET will be opened by his Majesty's Servants from the Theatre Royal in Chester, the beginning of NOVEMBER, with the Play of HAMLET, in which Mr. BRYAN, a Young Gentleman of Newcastle, who made his first Theatrical Essay in that Town, and was repeatedly received with every mark of public Approbation, will perform the Part of Hamlet -- And on the Play Night following, an OPERA will be performed, in which Mrs. MAPPLES (the late Mrs. Taylor) will perform the principal Singing Character.

[Meanwhile, not very far away....]
Never Acted here by this Company.
For the BENEFIT of
Mr. and Mrs. HAMILTON.
On Wednesday Evening the 1st of November, 1780,
Will be peformed, the celebrated Comedy, called the
(The Characters as expressed in the Hand Bills)
The following favourite Songs, by Mrs. HAMILTON,
The much admired Hunting Song,
"Come my brave Boys, let's away to the Downs."
The BANKS of the DEE
SANDY o'er the LEE.

And the celebrated Hunting Song, called
TALLY O, in the character of DIANA.
Between the Play and Farce, an Interlude, called
The Workington Sailor Triumphant;

After the Interlude
A favourite SONG, by a Person of the Town of Workington, composed by himself.
To which will be added a FARCE called
St. Patrick's Day;
O R   T H E

Cumberland Pacquet, 12 Dec 1780:
Wednesday night [6 Dec], by desire of Mr. Braddyll, the comedy of the Jealous Wife was performed at the Theatre in Roper street. The boxes were crowded in the most genteel manner ever seen here; and it was remarked that there were six unmarried ladies present (one of whom was Miss Curwen) whose fortunes together exceed those of any other of the same number in the North of England.
Thursday night the people in the Theatre in Albion-street (of which there were a great number, every part of the house, the stage not excepted, being quite crowded) were thrown into the greatest confusion by an alarm of fire being given by a person in the gallery. Four or five people in the front of the gallery, leapt down into the pit; several of the ladies fainted, and such an uproar ensued as was never before seen in this place. It was near an hour before it subsided, when it appeared that no damage was done, except one of the benches in the gallery being forced down, and an immense quantity of ladies hats, cloaks, calashes, pattens, &c. having strayed from the right owners, most of which have however been returned.

Not performed here these many Years.
For the Benefit of Mrs. HAMILTON.
AT the THEATRE in ALBION-STREET, on this present TUESDAY the 12th of December,
Will be performed a celebrated COMEDY, called,
A Bold Stroke for a Wife;
[full cast given, led by Mr. Cuthell]
The following favourite Songs, by Mrs. HAMILTON,
End of ACT III.
in the Character of DIANA.
End of the PLAY (by particular Desire)
And (for that Night only) the much admired Hunting Song
"Come my brave Boys let's away to the Downs."
In the Character of a HUNTRESS.
Between the Play and Farce will be performed an Interlude from Foote's celebrated Comedy of
B E F O R E   T H E
[full cast given, including: Doctor Last, Mr. Hamilton]
To which will be added a New FARCE, called
[by Sheridan. Full cast given]
N.B. Nothing under full Price can be taken. -- Nor any Person admitted behind the Scenes.
Doors to be opened at 5, and begin precisely at 6 o'Clock.
[Lyrics of the "Away to the Downs" song follow]

Newcastle Courant, 13 Jan 1781:
Messrs Austin and Whitlock, most respectfully beg leave to inform the Ladies, Gentlemen, and Public of Newcastle, that they intend opening the theatre early in February.- They have selected a company of Comedians from different theatres, which have given the greatest satisfaction, at the theatre royal in Chester, and the theatre in Whitehaven, where they are now performing. ... Mr Austin has been for some time in London (where he was detained by indisposition, but is now perfectly recovered) and has been favoured by Mrs Cowley, and Mr Harris, manager of the theatre royal in Covent Garden, with that inimitable new comedy which has met with such repeated applause, for upwards of 50 nights there the two last seasons, called The Belle Stratagem, which they intend to prepare with every necessary decoration, and perform it at Newcastle as soon as it can be got ready. ...

Cumberland Pacquet, 20 Feb 1781:
Notwithstanding the general complaint that was made a few weeks ago of the apparent profligacy of the town [Whitehaven] in supporting two companies of players, we are assured that the sum taken by both did not exceed 1020£ and the manager of the Roper-street company declared that they lost 80£ stock, beside the rent of the house, which was 100£- This is at least a proof that however elegant the decorations of the theatre may be, nothing short of a company of able performers can draw together such audiences as for some years past have frequuented it, to the great emolument of those who furnished the entertainments.

Cumberland Pacquet, 27 Feb 1781:
A report having been circulated that the managers of Roper-street theatre have agreed to pay a certain annual rent to Mrs. Watson for the exclusion of any Comedians in the theatre in Albion-street, we are authorised to contradict the same, no such agreement having taken place, nor any direct offers made for the purpose.

[As the last two articles imply, anybody could hire the theatres. One regular was a local dancing teacher:]
Cumberland Pacquet, 10 Apr 1781:
Mr. Hadwen had his ball in the theatre, Roper street, on Friday evening. The house was much crowded, and at half past six the curtain drew up and discovered his pupils, in number sixty-eight, very elegantly drest. The young ladies (several of whom were from Mrs. Durand's boarding-school) were seated on a temporary gallery, erected as usual at the head of the stage, and the young gentlemen ranged on benches by the side-wings; the whole presenting to the eyes of the spectators one of the most beautiful and pleasing scenes that can be imagined. The ball was then opened with a minuet by Master Robinson and Miss Elizabeth Durand, which was succeeded by a variety of minuets, the minuet de la cour, allamandes, cotillons, rigadoons, and country-dances, judiciously interspersed. The performance throughout (which was accompanied by an excellent band of music) gave general pleasure, and reflected the greatest credit on Mr. Hadwen's abilities and success as a teacher.

Cumberland Pacquet, 16 Oct 1781:
Messrs. Austin and Whitlock performed four nights at Manchester during the Musical festival, and were attended with uncommon applause from numbers of people of the first fashion; and we hear that they are again to open the theatre in that town, early in the next month, for the winter season.

Cumberland Pacquet, 27 Nov 1781:
Wednesday last [21 Nov], Mr. Cuthell's company opened an elegant theatre in the castle yard, Newcastle upon Tyne. it is furnished with new scenes, painted by Mr. Watters, which are mostly representations of places in that town and neighbourhood.
[This would be a good moment to reveal that Mr Cuthell is Alexander Cuthell, who according to Eneas Mackenzie's Descriptive and Historical Account of the Town and County of Newcastle upon Tyne, ruined himself financially in the process of openiing this theatre. He died at Greenock in Scotland, 11 Feb 1824, age 78.]

Messrs Austin and Whitlock's company ended their theatrical season at Chester on Wednesday last. They begin next at Manchester.

Cumberland Pacquet, 11 Dec 1781:
We hear from Newcastle, that last week, messrs. Cuthell and Wightman, managers of the Theatre in the Moot-hall, paid into the hands of the treasurers of the two lying-in charities in that town, 13£ 18s. 5d. the produce of their first night's performance.

Newcastle Courant, 24 Aug 1782:
A few nights ago the Tragedy of Hamlet was performed at the Theatre in Lancaster to a very crouded house, and was received with the greatest marks of approbation.- Mr Austin in the character of Hamlet, displayed all the judgment of a veteran actor, and rivetted the attention of the audience. Mr Platt's performance of the Ghost was also highly applauded. The scene between Hamlet and the Ghost, the closet scene, and all the beautiful soliloquies, were well received, and even the honest Tars in the gallery were all attention.- The night afterwards the Comedy of the Belles Stratagem was performed; the part of Doricourt, by Mr Whitlock; Sir G. Touchwood, Mr Platt; Flutter, Mr Austin; Widow racket, Mrs Mason; and Miss Hardy, Mrs Kennedy. The house was again very full; and it was the general opinion that it was not possible for two plays to be performed so well, with every theatrical etiquette, out of London.

Newcastle Courant, 28 Sep 1782:
Extract of a letter from Preston, Sept. 18, 1782. [about Preston Guild]: Preston might truly be called the region of pleasure, several people of the first fashion were here, and a great many of the middling rank.
We had, 'tis true, two Companies of Comedians, but indeed 'tis degrading Messrs Austin and Whitlock's Company, to rank an Itinerant one with their's, as those gentlemen, ever anxious to please the public, had selected the best performers they could get out of London; their encouragement was great, which they highly merited.

Cumberland Pacquet, 8 Oct 1782:
Yesterday se'ennight the Theatre in Roper-street was opened by Mr. Whitlock's Company, with the Comedy of the Busy Body, and the Lying-Valet, which were performed to a very genteel audience, with great applause.

Cumberland Pacquet, 29 Oct 1782:
On WEDNESDAY the 30th of OCTOBER, 1782,
Will be performed a COMEDY, called The
Chapter of Accidents
To which will be added a New PANTOMIME, called
O R,
As perfomed by this Company at the Theatre Royal in Manchester and Chester; and at Newcastle upon Tyne, Lancaster, and Preston Guild, with greater Approbation than any Performance ever seen out of London.
Robinson Crusoe, Mr Best; Harlequin Friday, Mr Kennedy; Pantaloon, Mr Harvey; Pierrot, Mr Platt; Lieutenant, Mr Mason; Captain, Mr Hutton; Lover, Mr Moreton; Friar, Mr Clarke; Clown, Mr Hollingsworth.- Columbine, Mrs Gamble; Mother, Mrs Baker.
The other Characters by the rest of the Company.
Act 1st opens with an exact representation of Robinson Crusoe's Hut and Fence; and in the Course of the Pantomime will be displayed- His Country House- Goat Fold- Moving Goats- Inside of his Hut- Beautiful and extensive View of the Sea and Rocky Shore- Canoes full of Savages, - who on their landing perform a
A Ship at Anchor- A Ship in full Sail- A Seaport with Variety of Ships- A Tower and Quay- The Inquisition Scene &c.
To conclude with the most brilliant and beautiful
T E M P L E   S C E N E
Ever Exhibited Here.
BOX 3s.- PIT 2s.- GAL. 1s.

Cumberland Pacquet,19 Nov 1782:
Advert for performance on 20 Nov (the new comedy, Duplicity, and the farce The Sultan, or a Peep into the Seraglio; box price now 2s 6d. Ends with note:
Mr Whitlock respectfully informs the Ladies, Gentlemen, and Public of Whitehaven, that the Company's stay will be very short; therefore he takes the Opportunity to request their speedy Patronage, and embraces this Opportunity to offer his unfeigned Thanks for past Favours.

Cumberland Pacquet, 17 Dec 1782:
Theatre Royal, Whitehaven, Dec. 16, 1782.
Takes this opportunity of acquainting the Ladies, Gentlemen, and Public of Whitehaven, and its Environs, that a PATENT is obtained for the Theatre in Roper street, in consequence of which (all other Theatrical Entertainments in the Place being prohibited) the above THEATRE-ROYAL will be opened regularly every Year, and such performers constantly engaged as it is hoped will meet the Approbation and Support of a generous Public, which it will always be Mr. Whitlock's study to merit by every Exertion in his Power.

Mr.   P L A T T,
On WEDNESDAY the 18th of DECEMBER, 1782, will be presented an Historical PLAY, called
Henry the Fourth,
With the
Humours of Sir John Falstaff.

That was pretty much the end for the Albion Street theatre (and for theatrical performances at the Howgill Street assembly room, where our story began). But you may be interested to read what happened next at Albion Street.