London: A Pilgrimage
During the Victorian period, the general populace poured in to watch melodramas, burlesques, comedies, and the serious in theatres and music halls up and down the country. Dickens himself loved the theatre. In fact, as a young man he secured an audition at the Covent Garden theatre to become an actor. A bad cold postponed the meeting, and the rest…as they say, is history. He wrote plays, acted in them, stage managed them, and his popular readings were but mesmerizing theatre. Doré’s illustration depicts the bright lights on the boards, but the audience seems somewhat subdued.
[Page 160 and 161 of Gustave Doré and Blanchard Jerrold's London: A Pilgrimage.]