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Theatre in Auckland, 1858
Image by National Library NZ on The Commons
Theatre Royal (Auckland), Grand Juvenile night: "George Barnwell!, or The London Apprentice.", 1858, Letterpress, on poster 559 x 230 mm, Printed Ephemera Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library, Reference: Eph-D-DRAMA-1858-03
One of the collection’s early advertisements, this poster uses the common method of varying typefaces and exclamation marks to attract the eye. The double bill seems chosen for its sensationalism.
It consisted of “George Barnwell”, one of the most popular plays of the 18th century and by reports a “sordid drama of an apprentice who murders his uncle-guardian”, and “Robert Macaire” an early 19th century play about a “bluff, free-living, unblushing libertine, who committed horrible crimes without stint or compunction”.
The small text towards the top of this poster shows that the theatre was struggling to attract audiences; “owing to the depression of the times, their endeavour to introduce a healthy theatrical entertainment into Auckland has not been, by any means, successful”.