Silk playbill for The Octoroon, or, Life in Louisiana by Dion Boucicault, and The Maid and the Magpie, or, the Fatal Spoon!, Her Majesty's Theatre, Richmond, Surrey, 15 August 1864. Letterpress on silk.
Silk programme printed on cream silk in black typography with a royal crest of a lion and unicorn couchant, centre top, and a vestigial integral fringe on all sides. For the opening evening of the seventh season at Her Majesty's Theatre, Richmond, 15 August 1864, printed with the programme for The Octoroon, or Life in Louisiana by Dion Boucicault, and the operatic burlesque The Maid and the Magpie featuring the performers Mr. W. Sidney, Nr. H.B.Crouch, Mr. A. Stilt, Mr. W. Lowe, Mr. J.G. Becket, Mr. A. Williams, Mr. Louis Munro, Mr. Stevens, Mr. T. Thorne, Mr. Rooke, Miss Clara Denvil, Mr. Geary, Mr. Fitzgerald, Mrs. J.G. Becket, Miss Emily Miller, Miss Annie Howe, Mrs. Fitzgerald, Miss Marian Horton, Miss Stevens, Miss Fitzgerald and Miss Wilford. The programme notes that: 'The Theatre has been thoroughly Cleaned, Repaired and Elegantly Decorated by Mr. W.H. Williams and his Assistants. The New Scenery by Mr. W. Broadfoot, Scenic Artist of the Strand Theatre.'
Silk and satin playbills and programmes were produced from the 18th century onwards to commemorate special evenings at the theatre. This marked the opening of His Majesty's Theatre, Richmond, for the seventh season under the management of Mr. William Sidney, who became its lessee in August 1858, after the freehold was purchased by the Queen. The original theatre on the site opened on 15 June 1765 as The New Theatre on Richmond Green, by popular demand since the old theatre on Richmond Green was falling down and only gave irregular performances, while Richmond was a favourite place for visitors, and the abode of many 'gentry and nobility'. It had several lessees between 1765 and 1858, including Edmund Kean, and it was closed from 1845 until 1849.
William Sidney ran the theatre for twelve or thirteen years with his wife, and did a lot to improve its reputation. He engaged stars from the West End, including Madame Celeste, Hermann Vezin, and E.H. Sothern. The principal 'low comedian' of his company was Arthur Williams, who featured in these plays on the bill as Captain Ratts in Octoroon; or Life in Louisiana, and Isaac in The Maid and the Magpie.