Diva, Director, Rival: Mary Ann Yates and/against Drury Lane, 1773-1778

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Between 1773 and 1778, Mary Ann Yates was both a manager of a major London theatre, King’s Opera House (KOH), and the leading tragedienne at Drury Lane. Her dual roles in 1770s London theatres provides an unparalleled glimpse into the machinations of the contemporary media machine, theatrical rivalry, and the economics of celebrity and theatre. It lays bare the misogyny and jealousies that meant managers preferred damaging their rival to protecting their profits: Garrick and then Sheridan briefed against Yates, their star attraction, in the press and from the stage. I argue that the negative coverage of KOH and Yates should be read not as an index of reception, but rather as a concerted – and failing – attempt to manufacture popular opinion: to drive patrons away from the opera and its popular female managers. The smear campaign failed because Yates proved to be as adroit a manager of the mediascape as she was of KOH.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTulsa Studies in Women's Literature
Publication statusIn preparation - 2019


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