STROLLING PLAYERS & PIERROTS.
LOCATION: The London Inn yard, various street corners, Esplanade, Bedford Lawns.
DATES: Circa 1790 onwards.
After the English Civil War and the new Licensing Act of 1737, along with other towns Sidmouth was visited by strolling players, pop up theatre and touring musicians. As the town grew from a small fishing village to a fashionable seaside resort, this type of entertainment progressed to Pierrot shows and concerts, leading to the first permanent building of halls and theatres.
LOCATION:- North side of East Street (nick-named Theatre Lane).
OPEN DATE:- Circa 1803.
CLOSED:- Circa 1814.
CONVERTED:- Circa 1815 to a Poor House and later blacksmith’s premises by 1877.
Very little is recorded about this building. It would have been like many other early theatres at the time, converted from existing premises. In this case, probably a barn or storage building. Looking at other such theatres it would have had a simple wooden stage and proscenium with dressing rooms for the performers and bench seating in the auditorium. It accommodated the visiting strolling players for intermittent seasons during the early 1800’s who also performed in the street or Inn yards. The whole area has been redeveloped over the years and there is no trace of the building today. Looking at early maps and the present buildings it looks like it may have stood where Trumps Court is today.