During the 1630s a series of plays appear on the London stage with an extraordinary concentration of the city’s place names in their titles; they are known collectively as ‘place-realist’ plays. This article considers three of these dramas — Shirley’s Hyde Park, Nabbes’ Tottenham Court, and Brome’s The Sparagus Garden — in light of the emergent practice of promenading during this time. All three plays contain numerous references to pedestrianism, raising the question of why Caroline playwrights should suddenly wish to show their characters going for a walk, particularly in an era in which London drama had largely moved from expansive outdoor amphitheatres to small indoor stages. The article aims to suggest some answers through combining textual and practice-based analysis, using a Research-in-Action workshop conducted at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in 2016 to suggest some ways in which walking might have been represented on the early modern stage, and why.
- Early modern