- Either a poster advertising a play or a programme handed outto the audience. The poster or circular usually lists the title, date,time, theater, cast, and other information; it may quote favourablereviews. The audience playbill is a small programme with basic informationand perhaps advertising. These are free in Britain and sold at a nominalprice in America. Most theaters also sell quality colour programmes.
The first poster playbills were printed in London in 1737by the managements of Drury Lane and Covent Garden. They were quartosheets circulated to coffee houses and stuck up outside the theaters.The first programme playbills were handed out in 1850 at the OlympicTheatre to occupants of the more expensive seats.