The Cheapest of All to Entertain

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The cheap test of what is called a run now-a-days is no evidence of a flourishing profession. A certain class of people must go to the theatre to fill in their evenings; and, above all, it must be remembered that the London theatres are the theatres for the kingdom, and that the audiences are changing every night. The manager is catering for England, Ireland, and Scotland, and a sprinkling from the Continent. This is another result of a fatal centralisation, and, it may be added, of the “sensation” system now in fashion. These costly spectacles will not pay unless exhibited for so many hundred nights. Sight is a much more costly sense than hearing; the eye is more extravagant than the ear, as any manager knows; but no manager has discovered as yet,—none at least have had the courage to act on the discovery,—that the mind is the cheapest of all to entertain.

——“P.F.” in the Saint Pauls Magazine, November, 1867.