Sensation and spectacle keep everyone occupied and entertained, and safely distracted from politics.
A night at the theatre is a bawdy, rambuctious, rowdy, exciting and novel experience. It improves the happiness of all social classes and actually increases the town's wealth slightly. Audiences are aggressively critical and show little respect: heckling is an art, and performers play to their claques rather than follow the text. The chattering classes eagerly await each new performance, each great actor-manager, and each new work.
Historically, theatres could mean a great deal of trouble for the authorities. Riots were not uncommon if unpopular or provocative plays are staged, and David Garrick, the leading light of the London stage, was once forced to kneel before a fickle audience. They were in the process of completely wrecking his theatre and his livelihood! Because of this public excitability, and the potential for subversive propaganda, in the interests of "public morality" all governments closely monitored theatre performances. Indeed, Great Britain only scrapped formal censorship of plays in 1968 when the Lord Chancellor's Office no longer required London theatres to have its approval for every production. The censorious instinct still runs deep in some countries and some governments to this day.
- +1 happiness (all classes)
- +4 per turn to town wealth in the region
- Recruitment capacity (units in training): 1
- Enhances national prestige
- Enables recruitment of: militia
Theatres may be built only in region capitals, either in empty slots or by converting another first-tier building already placed there. They cost 750 gold and 3 turns to build, paying for themselves in 22-38 turns (including building time).Theatres serve as some of the cheapest and most effective ways of raising town wealth.
As with all cultural buildings, theatres offer a bonus to happiness and to town wealth. The cultural building line compares most similarly to the administrative line of buildings: both provide near-identical bonuses to public order (happiness and repression are identical except in the cases of elections). However, administrative buildings provide a larger economic benefit in the short term by raising tax rates, while cultural buildings grant a larger economic benefit in the long term by increasing town wealth growth.
Theatres, and all other cultural buildings, are perhaps best placed in regions with low wealth: administrative buildings increase tax income by a percentage, so they do not increase the income of poor regions as much. Theatres, on the other hand, produce a fixed amount of town wealth growth, and so benefit all regions equally. They can make poor regions wealthy enough to be meaningfully taxable in the long term.
Theatres may be upgraded into opera houses, which further improve happiness and town wealth growth in the region.