University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationManchester
PublisherUniversity of Manchester Press
Number of pages288
ISBN (Electronic)9781526133342
ISBN (Print)9781526133328
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2020

Publication series

NameWomen, Theatre and Performance
PublisherManchester University Press


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.


© 2021 Manchester University Press. This is the accepted manuscript version of a book chapter which has been published in final form at

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