Theatre Royal Amateur Theatricals
Title:Theatre Royal Amateur Theatricals
Author:J. R. Marsh
Date:May 18th 1861
This is an interesting window into popular feeling in Britain at the very beginning of the American Civil War. The poem does not mention directly the conflict across the Atlantic which had only just begun, but perhaps reveals anxieties about the geopolitical destabilisation which the American War represented, with Britain’s trade and possibly military position endangered. Despite the British government’s stated neutrality, there were widespread fears that the nation would be drawn into the conflict, and this poem defiantly celebrates the nation’s (and Manchester’s) military strength. – SR
In the original publication, the following preface was attahced: 'Last evening there was a grand military dramatic performance at the Theatre Royal, in aid of the funds of the Salford Rifle Volunteers. Every part of the house was crowded, and the entertainment went off with considerable eclat. A detatchment of the Salford Regiment formed a guard of honour at the entrance and vestibule leading to the dress circle. Previous to the curtain rising upon the first piece, the subjoined prologue, written by Mr. J. R. Marsh, M.R.V., was read by Ensign Charles Mercier, 50th L.R.V., with great distinctness and effect.'