Irvingite No 68 - August 2014
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Sir Henry Irving
The Irving Society was
established in 1996 to bring together individuals and organisations
interested in promoting appreciation of British
theatre in the age of the actor-manager Sir Henry Irving,
and of his cultural and artistic contribution to the
In 1902 Irving revived Faust with new scenery, the
original sets having been destroyed by fire in 1898.
was H.I. using a tried success to hold on
to a dwindling London audience. The original production of 1885 came in
for some considerable criticism. Nevertheless and in spite of W. G.
trivial script it attracted Goethe students and a public that sought
gas-lit spectacle. It was the actor-managerís greatest commercial
achievement, filling the old Lyceum for two consecutive seasons through
to 1887. It was played in American on the tour of 1887 and revived in
London again in 1888 and 1894. There were several tours of the UK, the
last in 1902 with a final performance at Bristol, December that year.
Altogether Faust played 792 times, which with the
exception of The
Bells was the greatest number of performances of any play in
actorís repertoire. That final revival
just over a century ago spawned Faust memorabilia including a
brilliant poster design, and was seized upon by commerce as a