In the mid to late seventeenth century the New Exchange shopping mall on the Strand was one of London’s most important social and commercial spaces. Its significance is reflected by the number of references to it in various contemporary sources, including, prominently, Restoration comedies. There have been a number of modern studies of the building in relation to its architecture, commercial history, and cultural significance, but none examines how the building was represented theatrically. This essay corrects this omission by discussing all the plays that have scenes set in the New Exchange. Focusing on two of these—She Would If She Could (1668) by George Etherege and The Country Wife (1675) by William Wycherley—this essay considers dramaturgical approaches to the staging of real places in the period. In particular, it draws on period illustrations of the New Exchange and close theatrical readings of the plays to suggest correlations between the architectural structure of the building and its theatrical representation.

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