This much-needed new study examines the emergence of a distinctive public sphere of drama largely set apart from the royal patent theatres of Covent Garden, Drury Lane and the Haymarket. London's theatrical spaces of the Olympic Theatre, Royal Coburg and Davis's Amphitheatre, alongside a range of urban private theatres on the edge of legality, provided a vibrant contemporary theatricality. The London bakers' apprentices, hackney scribes, shopmen and girls who took to the stage of the minor private theatre supplied the cultural context for the attacks on the Cockney school of poetry. Worrall's fascinating glimpse of this hidden world also includes an analysis of the East End Royalty Theatre, where black masked harlequins negotiated conciliatory representations of slavery to accomodate their racially diverse audience. A major contribution to our understanding of the theatre of the period, this timely book will be of interest to students and scholars of Romanticism and theatre studies.