owner, leaseholder, or landlord of a private, show-business enterprise (theater, circus, and the like). Entrepreneurs have existed from the time when professional troupes came into being. The first documents (contracts) date from the 16th century. Along with entrepreneurs for whom the theater was only a source of commercial income, there were also entrepreneurs who had creative ties with the theater. Frequently the obligations of the entrepreneur were taken on by the leading actor or playwright (for example, R. Burbage and D. Garrick in Britain; Moliere in France; F. C. Neuber, J. F. Schonemann, and K. E. Acker-mann in Germany).
During the 19th and 20th centuries, while the system of actor-entrepreneurs was retained (especially in traveling companies, such as those of E. Rossi, T. Salvini, and E. Duse in Italy), the importance of director-entrepreneurs also grew. Examples are O. Brahm, M. Reinhardt, and E. Piscator in Germany; A. Antoine, F. Gémier, and J. Copeau in France; and N. N. Sinel’nikov, N. I. Sobol’shchikov-Samarin, and P. P. Gaideburov in Russia. In various forms (including associations, directorships, and the like) private theatrical enterprises have been retained in many capitalist countries and exist along with state theaters. In the USSR such private enterprises were abolished by the 1919 decree on nationalizing the theaters.
Outstanding among circus entrepreneurs were P. Astley (Great Britain) and these circus family “dynasties” of the 19th and early 20th centuries: Franconi (France), Renz (Germany), Ciniselli (Italy), and the Nikitin brothers (Russia).