St Mel's College Longford
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Starring Mary Byrne
as Fairy Godmother
In the Middle Ages a form of theatre developed called Commedia dell'arte. This was similar to a Pantomime. They told a story which had certain fixed characters: the lovers, the father, the servants etc. The Pantomime first arrived in England as a short entertainment (entr'acte) between opera pieces.
Principal boys were originally (and in some cases still are) played by women. The first principal boy role was played by Eliza Povey in 1819 – she was Jack in Jack and the Beanstalk at Drury Lane London.
There were two London theatres which used the classical stories in the performance of pantomime in the 18th century. Both were Lincoln’s Inn Fields Theatre and the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Both explored the usage of ballet and opera.
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