The young bucks in the pit carried whistles to blow and upset any actor they did not care for. Neither did they hesitate to hiss and jeer and pelt actors with food, whether a bread roll, orange or a chewed wad of tobacco. They even threw lighted candles. This became such a threat that Garrick finally banished the audience from the stage, which also led to an improvement in stage furniture and sets. He also greatly improved the lightning which had chiefly depended upon chandeliers and candle-footlights.
The celebrated playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan followed Garrick as proprietor in 1777, and proceeded to stage many of his own plays, his most famous being The School for Scandal, as well as popular ones of the day. Sheridan was tall and thin with a rigid posture, a charming man, if something of a contradiction, of Irish stock, raised mainly by servants after his parents returned to England. He was generally attired in a brightly coloured costume of blue coat and red waistcoat. But he also had a passion for politics and spent less and less time involved with the theatre.
By 1791 the building had fallen into such a bad state of decay that rather than go through a complex refurbishment, it was decided to build another theatre in its place. Tragically, fifteen years later the theatre burned down for the second time! But it was again rebuilt, this time designed by Benjamin Wyatt on the elegant neo-classical model of the Grand Theatre of Bordeaux, it reopened in 1812.
I loved writing these stories albeit it was sometimes hard to stick so closely to the truth when they both suffered such appalling treatment at the hands of others. I wanted them to fight back, to enjoy a happy-ever-after ending. But changing their character or events would not have been right. In an biographical historical it was my job to show them as they really were.