The Birth of Modern Theatre
Rivalry, Riots and Romance in the Age of Garrick

By Norman S Poser
Published by Routledge

The Birth of Modern Theatre: Rivalry, Riots and Romance in the Age of Garrick is a vivid description of the eighteenth-century London theatre scene. It was a time when the theatre took on many of the features of our modern stage. A natural and psychologically based acting style replaced the declamatory style of an earlier age. The theatre was supported by paying audiences, no longer by royal or noble patrons. The press now determined the success or failure of a play or a performance. Actors were no longer shunned by polite society, some becoming celebrities in the modern sense of the term.

The Birth of Modern Theatre also recounts the lives and personalities – and occasionally the scandals – of the actors and theatre managers and weaves them into the larger story of the theatre in this culturally exuberant age.

The challenge

A well-written, fascinating theatre history book produced (and priced) for the academic market. The hardback version cost £110, and the book itself had a rather austere look which might be a disincentive to buy it as a gift. Moreover, the author is based in the USA which ruled out many cultural radio programmes requiring their guests to take part in a debate in person (Norman was able to travel to Britain only three months after the publication date).

The solution

Target a broad range of media areas in addition to the literary pages of newspapers, including history magazines; theatre ones; current affairs weeklies/ monthlies and the Irish media since many actors of this era came from Ireland.

The result

The book was the lead-review in the literary pages of the Daily Mail (ABC controlled circ. 1,246,568) and the digital edition of the Irish Times (ABC circ. 13,176) published a long author-feature in its culture section. Some of the other publications which covered it: Saga magazine (ABC circ. 262K); leading literary weekly The Times Literary Supplement (TLS); leading theatre weekly The Stage; current affairs magazine, The Spectator and The Times Higher Education. Detailed reviews appeared in some well-known theatre blogs such as and

Moreover, Norman was invited to give a talk by The Georgian Group, the UK’s Georgian interest society. He was also interviewed by various BBC regional radio stations including the popular Jo Good programme on BBC Radio London.