The 1800s

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Modern Theatre in Context: A Critical Timeline

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The 1,376-seat Princess Opera House opens in Winnipeg with the C.D. Hess Opera Company's production of Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe. This typical choice signals the popularity of the Savoy operas, in combining an image of Anglo cultural superiority with nostalgia for the homeland, as well as being the music of choice for amateur choirs and theatrical groups throughout the Empire.

Built as a touring house, the Princess Opera's stage is 75 feet wide and 33 feet deep, with a 24 feet high proscenium arch. In 1887 the theatre's owners acquire a resident company to stage plays when no touring companies are available and to tour smaller towns around Winnipeg. The theatre is destroyed by fire on May 1, 1892.

John Wilson Bengough's burlesque Bunthorne Abroad; or The Lass That Loved a Pirate, a parody of Gilbert and Sullivan's Patience, H.M.S. Pinafore and The Pirates of Penzance, is published in Toronto. The parody by the editor of the satirical magazine Grip is produced by the Templeton Star Opera Company in Hamilton in August of 1886.