Here’s a review in The Year’s Work in English Studies (2016):
“J.P. Wearing’s epic series of reference books on the London stage has proved an invaluable resource for theatre scholars since it first started to appear in the 1970s. Covering details about productions at every major London theatre from the 1890s to the 1950s, The London Stage: A Calendar of Plays and Players eventually spanned sixteen volumes. The indexes have now been republished in two monumental editions, which retain the same chronological divisions into decades (1890-9, 1900-0, etc.) with related material. This new publication also includes four key indexes to aid information-gathering: general, genre, theatre, and title. While there has been the occasional quibble about discrepancies with production figures, Wearing’s work remains the most reliable and informative source on plays in London during the first half of the twentieth century, and many will find this two-volume edition of great help.”
Theatre in London has celebrated a rich and influential history, and in 1976 the first volume of J. P. Wearing’s reference series provided researchers with an indispensable resource of these productions. In the decades since the original calendars were produced, several research aids have become available, notably various reference works and the digitization of important newspapers and relevant periodicals.
Spanning 1890 through the 1950s, all seven volumes of The London Stage series have been revised, corrected, and expanded. In addition, approximately 20 percent of the material—in particular, information about adaptations and translations, plot sources, and comment information—is new.
Although each volume contains indexes specific to that decade, The London Stage 1890–1959: Accumulated Indexes combines all of the indexes into one comprehensive resource for more efficient research. For example, those wishing to locate all the references to a particular actor, play, or theatre whose history spanned more than one decade will find all of the entries listed in this set.
This set includes four key indexes: general, genre, theatre, and title.
- The general index consists of numerous subject entries on such topics as acting, audiences, censorship, costumes, managers, performers, prompters, staging, and ticket prices. With approximately 40,000 people listed, this is the largest single source of theatrical personnel on the London stage during this period.
- The genre index comprises all entries for production types, including comedies, dramas, farces, and tragedies, as well as ballets, operas, adaptations, foreign works, pantomimes, and translations.
- The theatre index features every building to stage a production, from the Adelphi to Wyndham’s.
- The title index cites 14,000 productions, identifying every work produced on stage from Domestic Economy in January 1890 to When in Rome in December 1959.
As a supplement to the individual volumes, The London Stage 1890–1959: Accumulated Indexes will be of value to scholars, theatrical personnel, librarians, writers, journalists, and historians.