|5. Theatre Royal, Drury Lane|
Engraving: Isaac Taylor, Drury Lane Theatre (London: Richard Phillips, 1804). RCM Centre for Performance History, 88E2
One of the two London theatres licensed for performances of plays by the Licensing Act of 1737, following the granting of royal patents by Charles II in 1662 for the building of two theatres in London. Drury Lane Theatre was entirely rebuilt under the management of Sheridan in 1792/3–1794, to hold 3611 people, raising over £800 a night. Sarah Siddons called it ‘a wilderness of a place’. The vast auditorium required the actors to use exaggerated gestures and to amplify their voices. In 1809 Drury Lane Theatre (as Covent Garden in 1808) was burnt to the ground and both their music libraries were totally destroyed. A new theatre opened again in 1812.