Theatre Royal playbill
Drury Lane, London
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
This poster would have been posted up some time in advance to announce the play Rule a Wife and Have a Wife, being presented by His Majesty's Company of Comedians at London's Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. It would also have been handed out in the streets, and delivered to people's houses. The date 1725 has been written on it, probably by a collector, who also wrote that it took place 'in the time of Wilks and Mrs Oldfield'. We know that this play actually took place at Drury Lane on 14 April 1718. When this was printed, there weren't any theatre programmes as we have today. Playbills acted as both programme and poster. This one doesn't give many details at all about the production, but it does show that it was to begin a 6 o'clock, and that a larger poster (or 'Great Bill') was also going to be printed nearer the time. It is one of the earliest playbills in the Museum's collections.