Henslowe Irving

Our consultancy is named after two great figures in theatre history.

Philip Henslowe was the first and one of the greatest English cultural entrepreneurs, who built three London theatres between 1580 and 1610 – one of which was the first multiple-use theatre ever constructed – and developed a wide-ranging business empire which served the almost unlimited demand for live entertainment in Elizabethan London.

Henry Irving was the actor-manager of London’s Lyceum Theatre for some twenty-five years. He made the Lyceum more than just a theatre – under his management it became ‘almost a religion’ to regularly attend the venue. Irving created demand through superb programming and a meticulous eye for detail.

Between them, they would make a brilliant Chief Executive (Henslowe) and Artistic Director (Irving) of a modern performing arts venue. Their skills and talents embody what is required to make a cultural venue brilliant today just as much as it did in their own time.

This is because the reasons the public visits theatres – in their broadest sense as buildings where the public gather to collectively experience culture – have changed little over the last couple of hundred years.

“The theatre has always been, and still is, the principal place of public amusement, and, though its character has greatly changed, and its frequenters are no longer of the class who once gave it its chief support, it occupies too prominent a place in the social organization of our great towns to be overlooked […]. The taste for the stage is not merely a love of tinsel and inexplicable dumb show – it is the universal desire to see the bright side of the world, and to travel out of ourselves into the airy regions of poetry and romance.”
– Unsigned, Putnam’s Monthly Magazine of American Literature, Science and Art, New York: February 1854