The Last of the English Theatres in Colonial Calcutta:

THEATRE ROYAL

This is where Lewis’s Theatre Royal stood at 16 Chowringhee next to today’s Grand Hotel

Backdrop

After a warm farewell at Lyceum Theatre on 31 March 1870 night George Benjamin William Lewis and his wife Rose Edouin Lewis had left for Melbourne with no plan to revisit Calcutta any sooner for renewing the fame and commercial success they achieved during the last two and half a year of their theatrical performance. It was only a chance meeting with J B Howe, a versatile actor, in a Collins Street restaurant, GBW Lewis and his wife Rose were tempted to take Howe to Calcutta, where he could play for them both comedy and tragedy; moreover, he knew the repertoire and could sing. [Colligan] Because of his precommitments, Howe accepted the position of the ‘Leading Actor’ but for a single season. This was the beginning of a new chapter of Lewise’ theatrical adventure in Calcutta that concluded after six annual sessions in 1876 leaving their Theatre Royal behind continuing their legacy for over four decades.

‘Theatre Royal’ Announced

The Burlesque and Dramatic Company led by Lewises with thirteen actors besides Mr and Mrs Howe and Mr and Mrs Edouin reached Calcutta for the second time in early September of 1871. The next day, Howe writes, they had a rehearsal of the play, ‘Not Such a Fool as He Looks’ at the ‘charming’ little opera hall on Lindsey Street. Next Monday the 16th of September, they staged the play to a house crowded in every part, by the elite of Calcutta, Earl Mayo gracing the performance with his presence, and the two grandsons of the ‘notorious Tipoo Sahib’ being among the native princes and potentates present. On this opening night, Mr George Lewis, before the show began made a delightful announcement to the packed house, in presence of the Viceroy, of his plan to build a theatre house in Calcutta. Lewis Company did a grand performance that evening. Calcutta press reviewed the first appearance of Howe and said, “Mr Howe had not been five minutes on the stage, upon which he came with rounds of hearty welcome when we were quite satisfied that he was the right man in the right place. … he would be a most valuable acquisition to our stage.” [Howe] The curtain rose on Brougham’s comedy of – Faces in the Fire. During that short span, they did several revivals, amongst which was Rip Van Winkle. The team played at this ‘charming opera’ at Lindsey Street every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday for no more than four weeks, as an Italian opera company had booked the stage thereafter in advance.

George Benjamin William Lewis 1818-1906. Courtesy: State Library Victoria.

GBW Lewis, the indefatigable proprietor and an exceptionally resourceful and capable manager, was ‘not to be baulked’ under pressure. Without wasting a day, almost miraculously he managed to buy a suitable plot on Chowringhee Road opposite the Maidan, cleared its ground dislodging a ruinous structure and install a new theatre building on it in less than a month’s time. It was the prime location and much sought after for establishing a European centre of entertainment. [Howe] We may recall how earnestly the Calcutta Opera Committee and Augusto Cagli, the Italian Opera Impresario, hunted in vain for a piece of land in Chowringhee / Esplanade area some six years ago for the Grand Opera House before it finally placed at no. 7 Lindsey Street in 1867 where Lewises just inaugurated their current season jubilantly. [Rocha]

The Location and its Surroundings

Calcutta in the south was an obvious centre for new development and by the beginning of the nineteenth century Chowringhee that skirted the open space behind Fort William was described as an ‘entire village of palaces’. The palaces were mostly built as two- or three-storey square and rectangular blocks of Italianate design with pedimented windows and balustraded roof parapets. Their frontages were linked by colonnades, arcades or substantial railings and gateway. The view across the Esplanade open space took in Government House to the right and the Hooghly river ahead to the west. The site of these mansions had been won in a lottery by Colonel Grand, who proceeded to build himself a Sussex-inspired version of the English country house. [Denby]

Five Mansions. nos. 13-17 Chowringhee Forming a nucleus of the present Grand Hotel.

The tract that Carey found in his time covered by the palaces of Chowringhee, about a century before had contained only a few miserable huts thatched with straw; a jungle, abandoned to water-fowl and alligators, covered the site of the present citadel and the course by its side, daily crowded at sunset with the gayest equipages of Calcutta. [Carey] It was indeed an enviable location that Lewises found out within the most dignified stretch opposite the green of the Maidan, a cluster of five stand-alone buildings, that long back Mr Grant had erected with the Lottery money he won, covering nos. 13 to 17 Chowringhee Road, which after two and half a decade were to merge into a classy mega-mansion of the Grand Hotel created by Stephen Arathoon.  Arathoon bought the first three premises from Mrs Annie Monk, an eccentric British lady who stringently managed several ill-maintained boarding houses, including these five at Chowringhee and the other four in the vicinity at no. 11 Middleton Row,  no.13 Theatre Road, no. 26 Camac Street, and no. 8 Harrington Street. One of her formerly lodgers wrote in London Illustrated: ‘the two hardest things in the world are the diamond and a Calcutta board-house keeper’s heart.’ A little barrister while in Calcutta, he managed to get the best side of her for five thousand rupees. [Hobb] It was this lady from whom GBW Lewis had purchased in September 1871 a dilapidated lodge on plot no 16 Chowringhee, and that must have been at a fabulous price to persuade her to sell a property for the first time. At one time, it seems, here stood the Royal Hotel established by Mr Jack Anderson, formerly proprietor of the old Spence’s. Next stood Mitchell & Co.’s shop, and next to Mitchell’s stood the corner plot, no. 17. The last two were once occupied by the ‘Calcutta Club’, an institution set up for the leisure and recreation of the merchants, brokers, public servicemen and sundry. Colonel Abbott managed its affairs until its board split and doors closed. [Massey]  As we understand from Colligan, Lewis founded the Theatre ‘behind the old Calcutta Club’ [Colligan].

Construction and The Interior

The very day after Lewis secured the ground, he engaged over eighty workmen on the spot, with all the ‘plant’ to commence operations, most of them Hindoos, with of course European foremen and architects. The old mansion was down as if by magic, and in four days the foundations were being laid. Huge iron pillars and rafters, arrived by the dozen, and in less than three weeks the roof was on. The decorations and scenery were all being painted at the Opera House so that when the roof was on, they were carted to the theatre, and everything was ready to open on the fourth week. [Howe]

The new theatre, measuring 132 feet long by 60 feet wide, accommodated 800 seats inside. The proscenium, or the space between footlights and the curtain, is occupied by two upper boxes, and by doors leading behind the scenes. It is ornamented with four Corinthian columns one at each corner. Besides these two proscenium boxes, there are … two boxes on each side o the house near the stage and the Viceroy’s box in the middle of the dress circle. The dress circle is supported by iron pillars. It is reached by a double staircase and seated for thee hundred people. The theatre is entirely lighted by one large sun, consisting of gas jets about eight and a half feet in circumference. Architecturally, Lewis’s Theatre Royal can be defined as of later proscenium style of a mid-nineteenth-century theatre and not as of Elizabethan design, as some writers, like Utpal Dutt [Dutt], suggested misleadingly, in all probability due to inaccessibility to faithful documentary sources they needed to verify.

Inauguration of the Theatre Royal

A new chapter in the history of English theatre in Calcutta opened with the inauguration of Lewis’s Theatre Royal on 21 October 1871 with the ‘slight comedy’ by Buckingham, The Silver Lining, with Howe and Rose as leads. This was the beginning of six and a half year-long journey of Lewis’s Burlesque and Dramatic Company performing in the Theatre Royal along with several other global touring operatic and theatrical enterprisers and some local ones. Apart from Mrs Esther Leach, there was however none of the English theatrical performers in Calcutta who enjoyed the ovation of the Calcutta audience so exultantly. Incidentally, due to her untimely death, Mrs Leach reigned Calcutta theatre for a shorter period than Lewises did. Some months before Lewises arrival, the famous English soprano, Anna Bishop had performed in the Town Hall. An opera company led by the Italian impresario, Augusto Cagli toured between Melbourne and Calcutta during the earlier seasons of Lewises. Among others, Mr and Mrs English were the two important English thespians performing at the Corinthian Theatre from 1875. The English born minstrel proprietor Dave Carson arrived before Lewises in the early 1860s and later had occasions to share a stage with them showing signature piece ‘Bengali Baboo’ or some other of his mimes and minstrels. Dave lived in Calcutta until his death on 26 February 1896 and in respect to the departed soul of the artist, the Star Theatre remained closed on the 29th. [Mukherjee]

English Theatre Was For The Englishmen

Unquestionably, it was those downhearted Britishers and Europeans living away from their home who hailed the touring operatic and theatrical companies more to appease their nostalgic sentiments by witnessing the rerun of the family and social life than for appreciation of art and culture. ‘The repertoire of the different companies brought with them should speak more of the crowd-pleasing – popularand fashionable dramas, burlesques, extravaganzas. Shakespearean plays were included because those were fashionable. The elite society of then Calcutta had less care for serious themes, wanted something entertaining on the stage and did not mind a little vulgar or even a racy burlesque if that boosted the audience’ spirit.

ENGLISH Theatre AUDIENCE SAME EVERYWHERE IN MID-19th CENTURY; DEPICTED BY ST GILL, Melbourne, 1853. COURTESY: STATE LIB. VICTORIA

The scenario, however, was changing fast. For the first time in the early nineteenth century, the amateurish Calcutta theatre started transforming into a professional institution with the foundation of Chowringhee Theatre, or ‘The Theatre’ as it was frequently called. The Theatre was a ‘private subscription’ theatre under the patronage of a few liberally educated celebrities like Mr Hares Heman Wilson, David Richardson, C R Princep, J H Stoqueler, Dwarkanath Tagore. Soon it became a fervent hub where Calcutta elites would gather every evening for chats or drinks. “If any public Theatre can ever boast of its connection with a galaxy of brilliant scholars, artists and men of lead and light, belonging to the west, and having an intimate connection with the Indian people, it was the Chowringee Theatre. [Dasgupta] In 1826 when Mrs Esther Leach was inducted, The Theatre superbly presented the best English dramas before the Calcutta audience. The audience of Calcutta was never the same after being reshuffled to let in a small but significant section of young Bengalis versed in English dramatic literature. We may say with confidence that one of Mrs Leach’s significant contributions to the Calcutta society must have been its new culturally ‘receptive audience’ with adequate theatrical sense to judge a stage performance critically. In fact, this ‘audience’ was being groomed systematically for a long time in a number of English schools within their classrooms and on their makeshift stages [Ajantrik] To witness the marvel of Mrs Leach’s theatrical feats at Sans Souci was for them a magic touch complementing their learning of theatrical appreciation.

Newborn Bengali Critics

After two decades, the stage Directress Rose Lewis encountered the same small but very different homegrown audience enduringly settled themselves next to the much larger group of the British and European elitists. Rose had to satisfy a wide range of varied interests of the mixed population with a spectacular repertoire she prepared every season and to reproduce those on the stage as best as she can depending on the talents of her hired artists and ultimately on her own virtuosity and charisma. “Although its predominantly London repertoire was primarily aimed at British members of the colonial public service, Lewis’s theatre attracted many educated Bengalis, noted for their critical knowledge of Shakespeare.” [Colligan] The situation can be well understood from a press review quoted in Colligan’s book:

“It is amusing to note some of the criticisms in the native papers on our theatricals.” Times of India, Bombay Edition continues to report on 11 January 1868 “The tone is by no means complimentary to our theatrical troupes, as their performances are very severely handled, and in many respects, I must confess, with a certain degree of justice. Shakespeare has been studied by our Baboos in their educational courses at the universities and colleges, and they regard everything below Shakespeare as something scarcely worth notice. They are themselves paying considerable attention to dramatic literature, several new plays have recently been published, of which the native press speaks highly. They say that if they were translated into English and placed on our London boards they would create a sensation.”

So unlike the British who were prepared to ‘make allowances’ for the provincial standards of the Lewises, this British-educated Bengali audience expected more than ‘the odd pantomime and burlesque interspersed with, for instance, an unevenly acted Hamlet. None of the critics liked the company’s first ‘leading man’, tragedian John H. Allen, an American mediocre artist. Lewises had to depend on Melbourne for finding suitable actors willing to travel to Calcutta. It deems to be the primary reason why there were not many genuinely good actors to benefit the Lewis’s Theatre as did Williamsons or a Howe, other than Rose Lewis herself.

Rose Lewis

Rose Edouin Lewis 1844–1925 Courtesy: State Library Victoria.

Rose  Lewis was veritably a star actress having ‘grace’, versatility, and a ‘good taste’ – regardless of her appearances in restoration plays crossing over into tight breeches. ‘By 1870 her versatility was almost legendary.’ As acknowledged by the English and the Bengali presses, Rose played with equal agility and success literarily in any form of performance ‘from High Tragedy down to Burlesque. As for her male role, there was always some reservations in the reported views. Her Romeo was ‘manifestly’ a buxom lady playing a man’s part. Some ‘babus’ present seemed bewildered by the changes to the text and possibly to the gender of the person playing Romeo.

Rose faced similar adverse comments for her title role in  Azad The Prodigal. There the male role she played should be better-suited for a hideous, bony, muscular woman, rather than for someone like Rose Lewis “essentially feminine and graceful in appearance, voice and manner”. Playing the ‘other’ was, of course, one of the common tasks for an actor playing the part of a villain or a hero. She often played the ethnic ‘other’  in many of the plays available to her from the London or New York stage that demanded expertise. She was almost a ‘slave to her profession’; a most cheerful and willing one certainly; yet there were few players who have worked so hard, otherwise she could never reproduce atypical characters like a ‘Zoe’ or a ‘Monee’ impersonating their subtle expressions and mannerism.

Overall Appraisal

Lewises theatres were unpretentiously mercantile and prosaic in scope as its name defines. GBW Lewis the whiz kid of the company, after all, a hardcore businessman who, in terms of profitability alone, could differentiate a circus, which brought him to Calcutta the first time, from a theatre, his later obsession. He understood the box-office but little stagecraft, and not much of the people on the stage with whom he had some rough times too. Nevertheless, money could hardly ever make him all smile. We find him grudging about his loss in his farewell speech for 1873-74 – the weakest of all the sessions when he had bagged GBP 80,000 to take home.

The burlesque and similar forms of cheap entertainment always have a popular appeal irrespective of age or sex. The box-offices at Calcutta as well as at London and Melbourne favoured plays like Jack and the beanstalk, Cinderella, Robinson Crusoe and Aladdin, the political satire, the amazonian leggy chorus girls, the pantomimes such as Lalla Rookh; or The Princess, The Peri, and the Troubadour, and Jack the Giant Killer; or The Harlequin King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. All these pantomimes were part of general nineteenth-century interest by Europeans ‘in the spectacular and exotic otherness of the East’. In the late nineteenth century, the ‘Principal boys’ and ‘chorus girls’ of pantomime and English burlesque evolve in America into an entertainment of ‘less good’ taste featuring ‘bump and grind’ and strip-tease. There were, however, many of those racial items in Lewis’s production. One of the most significant ‘other’ characters Rose enacted was that of ‘Monee’, a Bengali ayah, or a lady’s maid, in Tom Taylor’s comedy-drama, Up at the Hills. The often racist Calcutta anglophone press dismissed the plot that depicted a British Major’s engagement to Monee, as highly improbable. Similarly, they reviewed apathetically Rose’s performance as ‘Zoe’ where a white gentleman contemplating such an alliance with an octoroon was repeated. Interestingly, In the USA the critics commented on the failure of The Octoroon there because of the race question.

There was above all the uncomplimentary histrionics of British dominance, where Indians found themselves barbarously portrayed to humour the white elitists. In pantomime tradition localization of a playscript was not uncommon for making stories colourful and realistic. Colligan mentioned a crude sketch of a babu, which Mrs Edouin Bryer enacted in male attire, delivering a welcoming address to the representative of the Duke of Edinburgh on a tour in India accentuating babu’s servile obedience and his horrible English. In another event, one of the most respectable Bengali, Dr SG Chuckerbutty – the first Medical professional educated in London – was ‘sent-up’ to be heckled in a pantomime show only to please the larger sections of the arrogant fun-loving audience, and perhaps a smaller section who were critical of the over-anglicization of Dr Soorja Coomar Goodeve Chuckerbutty, née Surjo Kumar Chakraborty (c.1826 –1874) better known as Dr Goodeve Chuckerbutty as he himself preferred to be called. Colligan took it for a case of cruel joke that the respectable London-trained Doctor was wrongfully caricatured by twisting his name in a funny manner. We may recall that the contemporary Bengali bards never spared an overzealous anglicizing act of fellow countrymen. Plenty of examples of such mocking and mimicking one may find in loud-mouthed Kolkatar Song as well asin the polite Hansir Gan of DL Roy. Practising this kind of self-criticism publicly was one of the reasons why the ‘Young Bengal’ put off their pro-English lifestyle. Rose Lewis understood this Bengali sentiment well and took the liberty to stage Dr Goodeve’s show with no remorse. She was intelligent and had adequate resources for learning the equations between the British Raj and progressive Bengali minds.

She might have developed a stand of her own as reflected from the episode of staging the controversial play, The Happy Land, a burlesque by WS Gilbert. The play was a notable example of political banning that satirized Gladstone in London, Graham Berry in Melbourne, and in India when it was staged in 1874 in Theatre Royal the Viceroy Lord Northbrook walked out insulted by the localised ’satire’. To save the situation, Rose Lewis wrote the next day admitting her approval of the words spoken in the rehearsal, all about Bengal famine and relief fund, which she quoted for the public to read. The text which appeared to her not so brilliant but nothing was there that may suggest insulting to His Excellency but rather ‘a rub against the selfishness of the natives’ whose duty it is to succour such distress while on the part of the European community it is charity. For Rose, who witnessed political assassins during her stay, the staging of this controversial play was a bold decision, and that she must have taken voluntarily.

Lewis’S FAREWELL TO Calcutta

The Lewis’s company returned to a different Calcutta theatre scene from that which they had left in 1874. Then main rivals for audiences were Cagli’s opera. and touring circuses on the Maidan. After the Lewises seeming retirement, a  ‘Theatrical committee’ was formed in a meeting at the Town Hall to raise funds for theatre season. Others, led by a former ‘utility player’ of Lewis’s company, George Anderson, built a new theatre, Corinthian, on Dhurrumtollah Street. There was also a London based company led by Mr and Mrs English that arrived in Calcutta for the 1874-75 season. Lewises this time promised in their advance advertising to Calcutta public two American actors, James Cassius Williamson and Maggie Moore, who proved themselves the most successful stars in their Australian tours. GBW spared no expense in producing the newest and most successful pieces of the as well as some established favourites of the Calcutta modern stage. The Indian Daily News, Bengal Hurkaru advertised the day before covering the front page the varied programmes of three theatres at English’s Theatre, directed by  Mrs E. English; Lewis Theatre Royal, directed by Mrs Rose Lewis; and Corinthian, directed by GB Allen. The reviews of all the three performances reported full houses, but the Williamsons and their play Struck Oil received the most glowing report. Struck Oil Apart, in their five-week season the Williamsons presented Kerry, Little Nell, and Rip van, Winkle.

The Lewis Burlesque and Dramatic Company gave their last performance on 29 January 1876. The programme consisted of WS Gilbert’s charming mythological comedy Pygmalion and Galatea a quite satire upon social life and human nature generally. The naive simplicity and innocence of Rose playing in her part of Galatea made the character so amusing and real, and her artful skill was creditably acknowledged by the Indian Daily News and Hurkaru on 31 January 1876 that also reported GBW Lewis’s farewell speech. The speech was largely rambling and self-justifying. He declared that he had not made a profit from the season. Indeed, he had lost a little, some Rupees 2000 per week, until the arrival of the Williamsons. He also focused emphatically that ‘He had tried to do his best for his patrons and friends, and had always made it a duty to bring a respectable company and to keep it so, as he studied respectability as well as talent. It was however an undeniable fact that Lewises made sufficient financial gain from Lyceum and Theatre Royal phases. he had evidently had made sufficient profits to finance the building of investment properties on Melbourne land he had bought in 1865. The Lewis Dramatic and Buffesque company gave their last performance on 29 January 1876. The day after, on 31 January 1876, GBW Lewis sold his interest in the Theatre Royal , the Parsee Operatic and Dramatic Troupe open at Lewis’s Theatre in the ‘Ever fresh, Ever New Opera of Indur Sabha. [Colligan]

END OF THE THEATRE ROYAL

At the fag end of the eighteenth century, Aaracoon Stephan, a Bagdadi Armenian boy arrived at Calcutta in 1894 to paddle jewellery but soon took more interest in Calcutta’s fast developing real estate. He bought three mansions at nos. 13, 14, and 15 Chowringhee from Mrs Monk and added no.16 from its present owner. The mansion at no. 16 accommodated a Royal Hotel forming a part of the Theatre Royal.  Stephen developed these properties integrated into a dream Hotel the Grand Dame of Calcutta that remains an icon of the city of palaces. During the first part of the twentieth century, when the Theatre Royal under new management was in function there were a billiard saloon, a bar and a lounge on the Grand Hotel’s ground floor for the convenience of the people attending the Theatre Royal. A little away at its northern side, where the dining hall of the Grand Hotel stands, an open-air skating rink ran as a private club. [Massey]}

The Theatre Royal was burnt down shortly after midnight on January 2, 1919, finally ending the history of the English Theatre of Colonial Calcutta. The Humphrey-Bishop Company, showing there at the time lost everything including music and manuscripts. As the premises including tumbled-down edifice with a worm-eaten stage were fully insured Stephen suffered no loss. The last establishment that entertained Calcutta standing on the plot was the cosy cinema hall, Tiger, screening little offbeat English movies till the early 1990s. The memory of the Tiger Cinema with its small bar and smoking lounge, I believe, may not be completely wiped out from the minds of the Calcutta movie fans. [BalaBenoy]

END OF ENGLISH THEATRE

The tradition of English theatre in Calcutta had its best time between the late 1860s and mid-1870s when after a long interval the London repertoires were being regularly presented on the Calcutta stage to the heart’s content of the culturally deprived homesick British population. Other than the nostalgic reasons, the white people had also immense pleasures seeing the native Indians ridiculed in burlesque and pantomime shows. Viewed from the twenty-first century, the content of Lewis’s repertoire seems often ‘racist, imperialist, orientalist and melodramatic’ but undeniably the company went for the items in response to the popular taste and largely noncommittal attitudes of London and Melbourne. This kind of ‘popular theatre’ can be seen as a transition phase between the formal stage play of the mid-century and the realist drama of the late nineteenth century. The end of the English theatre in Calcutta was not abrupt but a consequence of a long process of cultural transfer under its colonial socio-political environment.

The English theatre never vanished in the blue of Calcutta sky but was emptied for the Bengali theatre to capture with the ‘new audience’ and with the most recent socially and politically relevant vernacular dramas penned by leading essayists, novelists and poets for the first time.  The contributions of these ‘new dramatists’ that won over the English stage were enough powerful and influential to scare the government. The Vernacular Press Act of 1878 did suppress the theatrical and literary movement for a while but took a new turn to flare up. “After Mrs Lewis left, there was no permanent English theatrical party, although there were Opera House, Theatre Royal and Corinthian Theatre they were meant for casual performances or musical entertainments only. Except [for] a few solitary instances, dramatic pieces too were either light comedies or farces which could not approach the high standard of comic representations where Ardhendu Sekhar or Bel Babu, Khetromoni or Binodini were the rival artists”. [Dasgupta. v.4]. Before long those remaining English theatres and operas were transformed into movie houses or closed their shutters forever.

The new audience, which is to my mind a direct product of Mrs Esther Leach’s theatrical presentations to the young Bengali theatre-goers, is indirectly responsible for the emergence of the ‘new dramatists’. In addition to what we already discussed on this issue, I would like to emphasize here the fact that ‘critiquing the theatre’ is a necessary forte not only for theatre appreciation but for theatre production and theatrical enactment as well. Theatre, being a performing art, needs close personal and group interactions and a platform, which was available with Rose Lewis for the theatre enthusiasts like those Bagbazar boys. Rose Lewis as the Directress of the stage, felt sufficiently attracted toward the argumentative young theatre-loving Bengalis, which was revealed in the course of interactions between Rose Lewis and the Bagbazarian youths who set the modern Bengali theatre on a national platform. It was never possible without the research work of Mimi Colligan which I have extensively used, to feel the momentums of journeying through the theatrical movement in colonial Calcutta ultimately blooming into the National Theatre. The relationship between the Bengali enthusiasts and Rose Lewis and her troupe members grew into a professional camaraderie with a far-reaching impact on the history of Bengali drama on the English stage. which we would like to take up separately.

REFERENCE

Ajantrik. 2021. Lewis’s Royal Lyceum: In the Making of Homegrown Professional Theatres and Theatricals of Calcutta. puronokolkata.com. https://puronokolkata.com/2021/07/10/lewiss-royal-lyceum/

Carey, William. 1964. Good Old Days of Honorable John Company from 1800 to 1858; vol.1. Calcutta: Quins. https://archive.org/details/goodolddaysofhon00careuoft/page/n4/mode/1up?view=theater

Chowdury, Darshan. 1995. বাংলা থিয়েটারের ইতিহাস. Calcutta: Pustak Bipani. https://granthagara.com/boi/331880-bangla-theatrer-itihas-by-darshan-chowdhury/.

Colligan, Mimi. 2013. Circus and Stage: The Theatrical Adventures of Rose Edouin and GBW Lewis. Mellbourne: State Library Victoria.https://trove.nla.gov.au/work/177161657

Dasgupta, Hemendranath. 1944. The Indian Stage; v.4. Calcutta: Das Gupta. https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.21261.

Dutt, Utpal. 1992. Girish Chandra Ghosh. Calcutta: Sahitya Akademi. https://www.google.com.Au/books/edition/Girish_Chandra_Ghosh/oCARY9BKjT4C?hl=en&gbpv=1dq=Theatre+Royal.+Dharmadas+Sur,+Girish%E2%8%99s+designer,+often+went+with+him+and+between+scenes+of+the+play+they+would+make+mental+calculations+of+the+proportions+of+the+auditorium,+which+was+a+replica+of+the+Elizabethan+design+of+Richard+Burbage.&pg=PA13&printsec=frontcover

Denby, Elaine. Grand Hotels, Reality & Illusion: An architectural and social history. London: Reaktion Books, 1998. https://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/distributed/G/bo3536413.html

Hobbs, Harry. 1944. John Barleycorn Bahadur: Old-time taverns in India. Calcutta: Thacker. 15.53429.John-Barleycorn-Bahadur_text.pdf

Howe, J Burdett. 1888. Cosmopolitan Actor. London: Bedford. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=njp.32101066164185&view=1up&seq=7.

Massey, Montague. 1918. Recollections of Calcutta for Over Half a Century. Calcutta: Thacker. a&usg=AOvVaw3uvydXqyjqB3xbkOOZe4jp

Mukherjee, Sushil. 1980. Story of Calcutta Theatres: 1753-1980. Calcutta: KP Bagchi. https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.100095.

Rocha, Esmeralda. 2012. Imperial Opera : The Nexus between Opera and Imperialism in Victorian, 1833–1901. https://research-repository.uwa.edu.au/en/publications/imperial-opera-the-nexus-between-opera-and-imperialism-in-victori

This hand-coloured etching by Edward Gurk depicts the inside view of a proscenium theatre, Théatre I.R. de la cour, prés le palais, and not of Lewis’s Theatre Royal, Calcutta. Image Courtesy British Museum.

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