Not surprisingly, Garrick's talents and ambition drew him quickly towards theater management, where he could shape the entire spectacle. He cut his teeth as co-manager of Smock Alley in Dublin for the 1745-46 season, with Thomas Sheridan. Garrick then returned to London where he put in motion a plan to become co-manager of James Lacy's Drury Lane by playing the 1746–47 season for Lacy's rival, John Rich, at Covent Garden. Garrick's continued success under Rich had the desired effect, and he was able to strike a deal with Lacy for joint management of Drury Lane. He purchased a half-share of the patent for—and agreed to receive—£500 per year as co-owner, and £525 per year plus a benefit as a principal actor. Lacy took responsibility for everything relating to the building, while Garrick took responsibility for everything relating to productions.
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