Theatre and theatregoing was central to the cultural life of later eighteenth-century Britain. In this engaging work, Jean I. Marsden explores the playhouse as a source of emotion during a period when the ability to feel demonstrated moral worth. Using first-hand accounts, reviews, and illustrations to complement the drama of the era, Marsden examines why both critics and audiences elevated the theatre above the pulpit and how they experienced the plays and performances that they witnessed. Tears and even fainting fits were a common reaction to powerful productions, and playwrights sought to harness this emotion. The book explores this intersection of text, performance, and affect in a series of case studies of plays exploring British liberty, empire and the evils of antisemitism. With a focus on emotional response, Theatres of Feeling delivers a new approach to dramatic literature and performance, one that moves beyond more limited studies of text or performance.