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A Record of Dramatic Performances at a Leading Victorian Theatre

Formerly the Sans Pareil (1806-1819), later the Adelphi (1819-1900)
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Welcome to the Adelphi Theatre Calendar
(A Project of The London Stage 1800-1900)


The Adelphi Calendar 1806-1900, Version 2

Welcome to the Adelphi Calendar 1806-1900, Version 2

For over twenty years, editors of the Adelphi Calendar Project collected information about every performance at the Sans Pareil/Adelphi Theatre, London, during the Nineteenth Century.  That research was completed in 1992, but, subsequently, the data were placed on the World Wide Web, and additional formats of the data have been added periodically.

Of necessity, sources were generally limited to playbills, programs and advertisements.  The longer someone was at the Sans Pareil/Adelphi, the more information we found.  Miss Jane Scottís whole career was spent there as performer and licensee, but actors, famous and unknown, are recorded in these pages.  We supply a complete list of every play, song, dance, and entertainment, along with its creators (where known).  Even those on the management side are recorded if they appear in the sources.  As calendars of other theatres are created, our theatrical and social knowledge of this neglected century will increase significantly.

In the revised version, graphics have been added to provide more insights into the productions.  Copyright permission has been relaxed and convenient download formats made available.  From candlelight to electricity, the Calendar records the history of this major West End theatre in minute detail.

The Online Version

This revised version of the Adelphi Calendar was completed in July 2013.  Although the data remain substantially unchanged, a new section Graphics Gallery has been added and some minor errors corrected.  Our systems analyst, Theodore Seward, purchased and prepared over 100 images of Adelphi productions found mostly in the Illustrated London News, which are listed under the heading "Graphic Images of Sans Pareil/Adelphi Performances."  Any of these images that are of individuals and some seventy-five illustrations in Wikipedia are grouped under the heading "People of the Sans Pareil/Adelphi."

There are two versions of the Calendar--"Online" and "Book." Both contain the same information but are designed with different users in mind.  However, because of their digital nature, each HTML page of the Adelphi Calendar may be searched using the "Find" command, and every file contains a table of contents for navigation.  To make both databases less unwieldy, they are subdivided.  The Online layout consists of eleven components, the Book version of thirteen volumes.

"Home Page" is this page.
"Daily Calendars" are the heart of the project.  Each season is analyzed and indexed.  Following a digest of the season is a daily record listing every play, author, role-actor pair, composer, singer, dancer, and any miscellaneous data appearing in the sources.  It is possible to state exactly what days a piece was played, who appeared in which role, who sang or danced, and often what scenery was constructed.
"Editorial Page" contains the dedication to Alfred L. Nelson, Co-general Director of the Adelphi Calendar Project, acknowldgements, editors, with symbols and abbreviations used throughout the Calendar.
"Authors and Titles" index lists authors, titles and subtitles alphabetically.  Pieces are referenced to their creators (authors, composers, choreographers, translators and adapters).  The season each play was performed is given.
"Actors and Actresses" lists every performer who appeared at the Sans Pareil/Adelphi with the seasons in which he or she played.

"Musicians, Singers, Dancers, and Entertainers" lists all musicians, singers, dancers, and performers alphabetically in a single index.

"Theatre Management" consists of names collected from the sources.  It does not include material from elsewhere.  Front of the house management and functionaries are included.
"Bibliography" contains only those works of particular use in this project.  It also lists all the graphics in an iconography.
"Graphics Gallery" is entirely new.  Here we display over a hundred illustrations of performers and productions taken from contemporary publications, chiefly the Illustrated London News.
"Theatre Research" consists of lists of theatre collections, journals and other resources.  It is the Directorís hope scholars will contribute by adding to this section.  (Contact him at gcross1@emich.edu.)
"Adelphi Today" brings the reader full circle.  Unlike so many playhouses of nineteenth-century England, the Adelphi is thriving as part of the Really Useful Group.  The official website of the theatre is reached via a link here.  There are also links to other websites, which will provide an up-to-date picture of theatre activity in London, especially the West End.  A section devoted to Other Websites recognizes the work of other enthusiasts and scholars who share our love of Miss Scottís wonderful house.  A final link returns the researcher to our Adelphi Calendar.
"Publication Download" Download a copy of this material in a book format or XML format.
"Top" occurs at the bottom of the page on the var left.  When selected it will take you to the top of the page..
"Site Map" occurs at the bottom of the page on the far right.  It brings up an index of all the pages.  You may jump to a given page directly by selecting the title.  You may user your browsers "find" command to seek the terms you are looking for.

The Book Version

The Book format was added when the University of Massachusetts Amherst undertook the hosting of the Calendar in 2012.  There are thirteen volumes (totaling almost ten thousand pages) designed to facilitate scholarship.  Users may download any part of the calendar for research purposes (either in Microsoft Word format or as a PDF).  A creative commons license allows scholars "to copy, distribute, and transmit the work and adapt the work."

Volume 1 is the general index 1806-1899.  It presents a brief history of the project, lists the editors and their affiliations, and explains the abbreviations used throughout the Calendar.  Next comes a listing of every person connected to the theatre in any way.  Those involved in the day-to-day running of the theatre come first, followed by an index of authors, composers and the titles of roughly 1,800 pieces they created.  The list of Actors and Actresses contains almost 8,000 names.  Musicians, singers, dancers, and entertainers are catalogued next.  The volume concludes with a bibliography of resources employed by editors.

Volume 2 contains seasonal digests.  Each of them is designed to give an overall "feel" for the ninety-nine seasons the theatre was open.  If possible, there are plot summaries, critiques of the pieces or players, and scenery descriptions.  Editors sought to "sum up" the season as a whole.  Anything significant, such as a change in management, or Dion Boucicaultís invention of the royalty system in 1860, or the introduction of electric lighting early in 1882, is in the digests.

Volumes 3 and 4 are devoted to seasonal summaries.  The computer generates these.  The summaries contain, inter alia, three main indexes: author/title, actor/role, and summary cast lists.  The last of these gives all actors by name, the roles they played, and a "window date" of the first and last time they appeared in the role.

Volumes 5 through 13 contain the daily calendars.  Volume 5 contains all the daily calendars from the Sans Pareil Theatre.  Each of the remaining volumes contains a decade of daily calendars of performances at the Adelphi.

How To Use Calendar Pages

At the top of each page, there are thumbnails.

At the bottom of each page, there is a link to the top of the page and a site map, which is an overall picture of the Calendarís organization and offers instant access to all its major divisions.

Daily Calendar

For 1806-1900:

  • Daily Calendar: Introduction
  • Daily Calendars: 1806-1900


  • Online Pages
  • Book Version
  • How To Use These Pages
  • Founding and Early Years
  • Later Developments
  • Contact the editors

Editorial Page

  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgments
  • The Adelphi Calendar Project:  Editors
  • Contributing Editors
  • Symbols Used in the Calendar
  • Abbreviations Used in this Work:
    • Production Credits
    • Commentary on Performers
    • Source Designations
    • Time Notations
    • Parts in Piece
    • Table of Special Abbreviations
    • Dramatic Genres and Their Abbreviations

Authors & Titles

Authors, Composers and Titles:

  • Introduction
  • Index

Actors & Actresses

Actors & Actresses:

  • Introduction
  • Index

Music, Song, & Dance

Musicians, Singers, Dancers, and Entertainers:

  • Introduction
  • Index


Theatre Management:

  • Front-of-House
  • Theatre Management:  Index
  • Theatre Functionaries:  Index


Works Cited:

  • Introduction
  • Books and Other Published Materials
  • Journals and Ephemera
  • Iconography

Graphics Gallery

Graphics Gallery

  • Introduction
  • Graphic Images of Sans Pareil/Adelphi Performances
  • Illustrations from Other Theatrical Productions
  • Graphic Images of the Sans Pareil/Adelphi Theatre
  • Computer Simulations of the Theatre
  • John Scott Builds His Daughter a Theatre

Theatre Research

Theatre Research:

  • Actors and Actresses
  • Collections (Theatre)
  • Ephemera Collections
  • Journals, Magazines
  • Plays and Playwrights
  • Professional Organizations
  • Resources
  • Scholarships in Theatre Studies
  • Stagecraft and Technical Theatre
  • Theatre History
  • Theatre History General
  • Theatre Societies

Adelphi Today

Adelphi Theatre Today:

  • Adelphi Theatre Home
  • Whatís on Stage
  • West End Theatre
  • London Theatre Guide
  • Other Adelphi Website
  • Adelphi Theatre Calendar

Publication Downloads

PDF and Word Downloads

  • Sans Pareil/Adelphi TheatresóGeneral Index: 1806-1899
  • Sans Pareil/Adelphi TheatresóSeasonal Digests: 1806-1899
  • Sans Pareil/Adelphi TheatresóSeasonal Summaries: 1806-1849
  • Adelphi TheatreóSeasonal Summaries: 1850-1899
  • Sans Pareil TheatreóDaily Calendars: 1806-1818
  • Adelphi TheatreóDaily Calendars: 1819-1829
  • Adelphi TheatreóDaily Calendars: 1830-1839
  • Adelphi TheatreóDaily Calendars: 1840-1849
  • Adelphi TheatreóDaily Calendars: 1850-1859
  • Adelphi TheatreóDaily Calendars: 1860-1869
  • Adelphi TheatreóDaily Calendars: 1870-1879
  • Adelphi TheatreóDaily Calendars: 1880-1889
  • Adelphi TheatreóDaily Calendars: 1890-1899

XML Downloads

  • 1806-1807 Season
  • 1807-1808 Season
    ...  through  ...
  • 1898-1899 Season
  • 1899-1900 Season
Top Go to Top of page.
Site Map Display Index of all the web pages.

Founding and Early Years

One of the great ironies of the Adelphi Calendar Project is that had it started ten years later, it would still have finished about the same time.  Mooreís law is true of theatre history as well as chip performance.

Those early days were heady ones.  Following the lead of The London Stage, 1660-1800, Joseph Donohue and James Ellis, co-directors of the London Stage 1800-1900 conceived of a series of theatre calendars, which would finally be integrated to produce a complete database of all theatres, great and small.  Reach did exceed grasp eventually, but enthusiasm ruled.

The London Stage 1800-1900: A Documentary Record and Calendar of Performances was founded in the mid-seventies by Joseph Donohue (University of Massachusetts Amherst) and James Ellis (Mount Holyoke College) to organize and collect information about the variety of theatrical and theatre-related activities occurring in London over the course of the century.  A data-base language called INFOL-2 was chosen to store the data.  In its day, INFOL-2 was an advanced program, which required careful preparation of data.  Each separate entry was given a number that had to be preceded and followed by an asterisk.  It took the General Editors three years to produce the Hand Book for Compilers because every facet of performance had to be considered and coded.

The commencement of the project may be dated with the publication of an announcement by Donohue and Ellis in the first edition of Nineteenth Century Theatre Research (I,1, Spring 1973), 53-56.  It was titled "The London Stage 1800-1900: An Immodest Proposal."  Here they said, "We envisage a calendar modeled on The London Stage 1660-1800, which took more than thirty years Ö" (53) and "Two things should emerge from the elaboration of this immodest proposal: The necessity to proceed methodically and cautiously in the initial planning, and the necessity for the broad-based support for the project once it is under way" (56).  (Similar announcements appeared in Victorian Studies, Theatre Notebook, Theatre Research, and PMLA.)

The General Editors of the London Stage 1800-1900 selected the Adelphi Theatre for the first calendar as there were sufficient playbills and programs to produce a detailed record of theatrical activity.  The house was open from 1806 to the end of the century and, of course, is now part of the Really Useful Group owned by Lord Webber.

In the early 1970s, English and drama departments were not known for their use of computers.  The idea was to type the entries and send them to the General Editors who would then convert them to OCD format and store them.  There were at least eight contributing editors, one of whose typewriters had lost the asterisk, forcing him to draw the symbols by hand!  Eventually, all editors had Selectric typewriters.  Next, some editors used their universityís main frames, where they were regarded as rarae aves and treated with indulgence as reams of paper spewed from the printer.

The computer explosion saw every university department purchasing computers for every faculty member, but by that time, the contributing editors had gained and lost members.  Alfred Nelson and Gilbert Cross, of Eastern Michigan University, were appointed heads of the Adelphi Calendar Project.  It was they who employed Theodore Seward Jr. to make a few changes so they could enter data more quickly.  It was the beginning of a long-lasting partnership.  Soon Mr. Seward became the systems analyst and wrote the two programs that generated data in INFOL-2 format.

Years passed; Mr. Seward moved on to work for the Northrop Company and helped their B-2 bomber program, all the time devoting his spare time to the problems of the Adelphi Calendar.  When all the data for the first half of the century had been compiled, Greenwood Press published it as The Sans Pareil Theatre 1806-1819, Adelphi Theatre 1819-1850: An Index to Authors, Titles, Performers, 1988.  When Alfred L. Nelson passed away in 1993, the project was just completed (after twenty years), and I had the pleasure of handing him The Adelphi Theatre 1850-1900: An Index to Authors, Titles, Performers and Management, 1992.  These publications contained typescripts of the indexes and microfiche of the Daily Calendar data.  An online version of the complete calendar was hosted by Eastern Michigan University.

All those involved in constructing the Calendar were well aware of its limitations.  Many of us regarded it as an opening salvo.  We hoped others would fill in gaps produced by a lack of sources.  Traditionally, two playbills were published, one on Monday, a second on Thursday to cover six daysí performances.  Later, programs replaced bills, but they had their own problems.  Editors had nothing like complete runs, and performances had to be assumed.  The computer program "filled in" days where no source existed, but playbills are continually being discovered, and the Editors hope some theatre historian or team of scholars will come forward and undertake an extensive revision.  There are also many theatre calendars waiting to be undertaken.

Later Developments

Recently, the University of Massachusetts undertook the hosting of the Calendar at www.umass.edu/AdelphiTheatreCalendar.  At this time, the Book Version was added.

Our idea was to make it possible for users to download parts of the Calendar with ease.  Versions in XML, PDF, Doc and Docx were prepared.  At the same time, a Creative Commons License was added, which gave the scholar certain rights.  The user can "copy, distribute and transmit the work" and "adapt" it.  In return, the user has to "attribute the work" to its authors and cannot use the Calendar for "commercial purposes."

Theodore Seward, Jr., the systems analyst, made a further suggestion.  If we were making a revision why not add an entirely new section in which contemporary images of performers and performances were included.  He purchased over a hundred pages of images of performances at the Adelphi (and a few more attached to them).  His idea was to link these engravings to the night of the first production of a piece.  Thus the user could see a scene from the production and often identify the actors.  The results more than justify their inclusion.  They are the only pictorial representatives of plays and performers of a bygone age.

Although The University of Massachusetts Amherst currently hosts the Adelphi Calendar, members of the current team, who have now completed their task and are not consistently able to watch over the project, realize it is wise and prudent to have more than one copy of a database of this size and complexity available.  We encourage additional free hosting by any reputable educational institution.


For details, contact the editors

Gilbert B. Cross

General Editor, Adelphi Theatre Calendar
c/o Department of English,
Eastern Michigan University
Ypsilanti, MI 48197


Joseph Donohue

General Editor, The London Stage 1800-1900
c/o Department of English,
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003



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Top Home Editorial Page Daily Calendar Authors & Titles Actors & Actresses Music, Song, & Dance Management Bibliography Graphics Gallery Theatre Research Adelphi Today Book Version Site Map















Thank you for visiting this site.
Copyright © 1988, 1992, 2013 by Alfred L. Nelson, Gilbert B. Cross, Joseph Donohue.
Originally published by Greenwood Press as The Sans Pareil Theatre 1806-1819, Adelphi Theatre 1819-1850: An Index to Authors, Titles, Performers, 1988, and The Adelphi Theatre 1850-1900: An Index to Authors, Titles, Performers and Management, 1992.
Creative Commons License
The Adelphi Theatre Calendar revised, reconstructed and amplified.  Copyright © 2013, by Alfred L. Nelson, Gilbert B. Cross, Joseph Donohue.  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License, with the exception of graphics from The Clip Art Book, edited by Gerard Quinn and published by Crescent in 1990.  These images are reproduced in accord with the publisherís note, which states "The Clip Art Book is a new compilation of illustrations that are in the public domain.  The individual illustrations are copyright free and may be reproduced without permission or payment.  However, the selection of illustrations and their layout is the copyright of the publisher, so that one page or more may not be photocopied or reproduced without first contacting the publishers."