Licence for The Hue and Cry

Licence for The Hue and Cry

The 1737 Licensing Act required plays to be licensed subject to the approval of the Lord Chamberlain's Office. Plays had been subject to government approval since Shakespeare’s day, but rules for the minor theatres had become lax in the early 18th century and the government found itself regularly ridiculed in political satires. The 1737 Act set strict restrictions on what could be performed. This is an official licence signed by the then Lord Chamberlain, Lord Salisbury, granting permission for The Hue and Cry to be performed at Drury Lane providing that no changes were made to the approved text. Many such hand written legal documents dealing with the leasing and licensing of theatres are held in the National Archives at Kew.