By Tracy C. Davis
In Victorian society performers have been drawn from various category backgrounds, and loved a distinct measure of social mobility. however the dwelling and dealing stipulations of girl performers have been very diversified 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 not easy, itinerant profession below consistent public scrutiny resulted in assumptions approximately actresses' morality. those assumptions have been continuously bolstered via theatrical conventions which mirrored well known pornographic pictures, and have been super tricky to beat. This publication will be of curiosity to scholars and academics of theatre stories, women's reviews, and social heritage.
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Extra resources for Actresses as Working Women: Their Social Identity in Victorian England (Gender and Performance Series)
WAGES It has already been pointed out that women could make as much money as men in the Victorian theatre. When box office appeal was the deciding factor in contract negotiations, the drawing power of the performer was the most important consideration. 39 Performers who had some bargaining power in this respect could set very favorable terms: in 1801, managers vied to pay Mrs Billington £3,000 for the season, plus a clear benefit; toward the end of her career, Maria Foote is said to have received £951 16s.
Some specializations rendered performers more employable than others. The theatrical specializations open to women were many, and in contrast to lines of business they crossed types of entertainment as well as genres. ‘Lines of business’ designated the employment opportunities in legitimate theatre making up the personae of The Drama (comedy, serio-drama, and melodrama): walking lady, lead, heavy, ingenue (juvenile business), character, utility, supernumerary, old woman, and soubrette. Farce included a few of its own lines, such as character comediennes, but the usual one-act format subordinated the farce to the main piece (The Drama) and utilized the same company of players.
67 Even when the basic rate was at par, the take-home pay was different for men and women. The plenitude of female novices for this kind of work (especially after 1871) meant that employers could choose only those who agreed to put up with the inequity. In this respect, the theatre was no different from manufacturing, distributive, and agricultural trades that devalued women’s labour and got away with paying women at a lower rate because competition for their jobs was so high. 68 Experienced actresses frequently complained about the preference for moneyed and well-dressed women who usurped the tradition of apprenticeship into the craft by quite literally dressing their way onto the stage, or outbidding women who actually worked for their livings, but since it was in managers’ interest to hire the best-dressed supers, the complaints were disregarded.