May 29, 1919: With summer approaching, some words of wisdom from The Stage, published 100 years ago this week when we reported on the negative effects that an early heatwave had on theatre attendances.
“The hot weather has played the deuce with the theatrical business, and at some houses where the attraction was never great, or has lost its potency, they are not, as the slang of the business has it, ‘playing to salt’. Of course, a stable, permanent management is prepared for this, and works out its year on a commercial average.
“The trouble is with those sanguine or silly, half-amateur entrepreneurs who have taken theatres for terms at rents which they could only hope to recover when their receipts were invariably as large as possible. That is to say, they gambled not merely on success, but on the abundance of success. Now, the question for them is whether they lose more by closing, or by keeping open and making what bit they can towards their outgoings.”
In the same issue, we also reported on the Touring Managers’ Association pulling out of contract negotiations with the Actors’ Association, “on the grounds that it had been stated in the newspapers that the AA council had passed a resolution in favour of a general strike”, a move that performers found “provocative in itself, the more so as it was admittedly based on unauthenticated particulars…. which were without foundation.”