Actresses as Working Women: Their Social Identity in by Tracy C. Davis

By Tracy C. Davis

In Victorian society performers have been drawn from various classification backgrounds, and loved a special measure of social mobility. however the residing and dealing stipulations of woman performers have been very varied from these in their male colleagues. Their segregation and focus in low-status jobs, like dancing, assured financial lack of confidence. Their makes an attempt to reconcile sexuality and the feminine existence cycle to a bodily difficult, itinerant career below consistent public scrutiny resulted in assumptions approximately actresses' morality. those assumptions have been consistently bolstered by way of theatrical conventions which mirrored renowned pornographic photographs, and have been super tricky to beat. This booklet will be of curiosity to scholars and academics of theatre reviews, women's reviews, and social historical past.

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Extra info for Actresses as Working Women: Their Social Identity in Victorian England (Gender and Performance Series)

Sample text

It is impossible to determine whether the theatre was their principal employment (supplemented by daytime or seasonal work) or whether the theatre was their secondary employment (one form of seasonal work among several). Up to two-thirds of the dancers and aerial figurantes in regular employment at the Alhambra and Empire music halls were dressmakers, tailors, shop girls, and factory hands;83 in such cases the aggregate wage was relatively good, though the personal toll of a double working day must have been enormous.

Gardner estimated that only a quarter of the 600 actors, actresses, and choristers employed yearly in the West End were paid as much as £10 a week. Touring wages, he observed, had recently declined so that in suburban and provincial companies (including fit-ups) visiting permanent theatres, town halls, and assembly rooms no more than 100 of the 6,000 or so performers earned as much as £10 a week. ‘Considering the large proportion of £1 and £1 10s. ’59 Rates varied from theatre to theatre, but in the lowest paid lines of business there is little overall increase until the end of the century.

Baker and Sanderson both rely on statistical data from the published censuses of England and Wales yet neither attempts to investigate the accuracy of the data or so much as adjusts the figures to take into account the 220 per cent rise in the population of England and Wales between 1841 and 1911. Furthermore, both historians refer to the census figures showing numerical parity between women and men in the profession, yet neither takes the trouble to include a balanced number of the sexes in his samples.

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