Traveling Actors during the Regency


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Highlighting the facts behind Historical Romance with Sofi Laporte on Traveling Theaters in the Regency era, and her book, Lucy and the Duke of Secrets.

While the great theater houses in Drury Lane, Covent Garden, and Haymarket entertained the people of London, a network of travelling actors or strolling players took care of the entertainment needs of the country population.

There were family troupes, but also wealthier, more organized theater companies with managers. Transporting their scenery, props, and costumes on a cart, they performed in purpose-built theatres, town halls, and public rooms. Poorer troupes had to make-do with barns and inns. Travelling from fair to fair, they set up their booths and handed out playbills. Fairs were an ideal venue, because they lasted for days and drew large crowds.

Wandertheater Highlighting Historical Romance The lifestyle of strolling players has changed little throughout the centuries. For many actors, it was a life of poverty; they performed in rags and were prone to alcohol. Women also performed and traveled with the strolling players. Actresses in general were seen to be little more than prostitutes, and this image would stay with them until well into the Victorian age.

Strolling players were considered the lowest order of actors. The 1737 Vagrancy Act lumped them together with vagrants, rogues, and vagabonds. Possibly because of their inferior status, they worked exceptionally hard on their craft. While the majority never made it off the road, some made it onto the London stage. A prominent example was Edmund Kean, who started acting in a traveling troupe, and who later became the star of Drury Lane Theatre.

All this forms the backdrop of my novel Lucy and the Duke of Secrets. Our heroine Lucy and her best friend, Lady Arabella, visit a fair where a traveling troupe of actors, named Jollyphus, performs. I borrowed the name from an actual group of English comedians that toured the continent in the 17th century. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but this encounter provides a turning point for my heroine. What happens next is central to her inner conflict.

(picture: Johann Chriarin Vollerdt)

About the Book

LucyandtheDukef-Secrets_resizedsmall-200x300 Highlighting Historical Romance A spirited young lady with a dream. A duke in disguise. A compromising situation.

Lucy hates dukes. One in particular: her best friend’s brother, the arrogant Duke of Ashmore. A man she’s never met. Because of him, she’s lost the only home she’s ever known. She can’t forgive that. Ever.

Lucy loves gardeners. One in particular: the charming Henry whose eyes shine in a million colours of blue. How lovely would life be if she were a simple gardener’s wife?

What if… that charming gardener reveals himself to be the Duke of Ashmore?

Will she ever be able to embrace who he is?

Leaving cheerful mayhem in her wake as she overturns the duke’s estate, his house, and his entire life, Lucy is certain of one thing: she loves the gardener, not the duke.

When scandal strikes, and her past catches up with her, Lucy faces an impossible dilemma.

Will her love ruin those dearest to her heart?

For the Duke of Secrets is not the only one wearing a disguise.


Lucy and the Duke of Secrets is a sweet Regency romp and book 1 of the Wishing Well series.

Available on Amazon:

About the Author

877345b1-bf4f-4e32-80fb-fb3ff392d2d4-225x300 Highlighting Historical Romance Sofi was born in Vienna, grew up in Seoul, studied Comparative Literature in Maryland, U.S.A., and lived in Quito with her Ecuadorian husband. She has worked as a journalist, university lecturer, foreign language teacher and librarian. Sofi likes coffee, owls, ruins and books. When not writing – she is always reading – she likes to travel and scramble about the countryside exploring medieval castle ruins, which she blogs about on her website. She currently lives with her husband, 3 trilingual children, a sassy cat and a cheeky dog in Europe.

Sofi writes sweetly simmering Regency Romance with mischievous, witty banter and heart-throbbing happily-ever-after.

Visit her website here:


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Caroline Warfield, Author

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