This 1997 book covers the period which saw the establishment in France of a centralized official theatre - not only the Comedie-Francaise (the first 'national' theatre), but an Italian theatre and a state opera; the often subversive independent theatres are also discussed. Nearly 1,000 documents deal with censorship and other aspects of external control, company management, the acting profession, dramatic theory and criticism, theatre architecture, settings and costumes, audience composition and behaviour. Over 120 pictorial documents - architectural drawings, technical engravings, frontispieces, portraits, etc. - provide a visual dimension where relevant. A full linking narrative and a copious bibliography help to make this an important reference work and a valuable research tool.