Lacy's Acting Edition of Plays

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In the 1840s the playwright and publisher Thomas Hailes Lacy (or T.H. Lacy, 1809 –1873)[1] started the publication of Lacy's Acting Edition of Plays at his Covent Garden printing house. Many London theatrical scripts were reproduced in the various volumes and in some cases as many as 15 plays by a wide selection of playwrights were reproduced. These volumes were apparently all published on a year-to-year basis.

On occasion one finds the publisher referred to as C.L. Lacy for some unknown reason.

In the mid-1800s, Samuel French (1821–1898)[2] began publishing French’s American Drama in New York and these volumes soon became the largest distributor of dramatic prose in the US. French acquired Thomas Hailes Lacy's company in the 1880s and expanded his business on both sides of the Atlantic, publishing French's Acting Editions of Plays.

These editions became a central resource for 19th century theatrical production, and many of the English plays performed in South Africa in the 19th century used these texts.

The Port Elizabeth Public Library has a collection of approximately 80 volumes, but the Birmingham Central Reference Library[3] has a complete run. They are in the process of digitising the complete set in order to make them all available as e-texts.


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