An eighteenth-century entrepreneur: Sarah Baker’s theatre on the Bayle and her other Kentish Theatres, 1737-1816

A talk by Dr Jean Baker, hosted by Folkestone Museum

Dr Jean Baker (not a descendant of Sarah Baker) worked as a journalist for some years. In 2000 she completed a PhD at the University of Kent that explored the significance of provincial theatre in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

“As I sifted through some old papers in the Folkestone Library archives a few years ago, a tattered cutting from an eighteenth-century newspaper fell from the bundle I was about to investigate. In smudgy, hard-to-read print the scrap of paper advertised a week of entertainments that had taken place at ‘the New-Theatre-Folkestone’ in the early spring of 1775.
Among the ‘usual diversions’ on offer were tightrope-walking, comic dancing, musical dramas, operas and pantomimes. Tickets it stated could be bought of a Mrs Sarah Baker at ‘Mr Tart’s upon the Bayle’ and potential patrons were advised to be quick about it as ‘the Company’s stay will be very short’.”

This talk will focus on the extraordinary, too-long-forgotten woman behind this announcement, on her Bayle theatre, and on the four ‘great grand’ theatres, as she described them, that she built elsewhere in Kent at the end of the eighteenth century.

The talk is free but, as with all our talks, they tend to fill up quickly. For further details or to reserve a seat CLICK HERE to go to our contact form, call 01303 257946 and select option 0 (office hours only) or call into Folkestone Museum & Town Hall. Refreshments will be available after the talk, donations appreciated.

Detail from ‘A tightrope walker above a clown’

March 25 @ 14:00
14:00 — 15:30 (1h 30′)