Victorian Touring Actresses: : Crossing Boundaries and Negotiating the Cultural Landscape
Victorian Touring Actresses throws new light on women’s experience of working in mid-nineteenth-century theatre and affirms the central role of touring, both within the United Kingdom and in North America. Featuring examples from a spectrum of forgotten ‘mid-tier’ performers in dramatic specialisms ranging from tragedienne to burlesque performer, the book provides a detailed examination of the practical challenges and opportunities typically encountered by the actress at each stage of her working life. It explores the career implications of strategies adopted to cope with the demands of the profession, the physical potential of her body, and the operation of gendered power on and off stage. Analysis is situated in a wide contextual framework and reveals how reception and success depended on the performer’s response to the changing political, economic, social and cultural landscape as well as to developments in professional practice and organisation, such as the demise of the stock company.