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 lady performers have been very various from these in their male colleagues. Their segregation and focus in low-status jobs, like dancing, assured fiscal lack of confidence. Their makes an attempt to reconcile sexuality and the feminine existence cycle to a bodily challenging, itinerant career less than consistent public scrutiny ended in assumptions approximately actresses' morality. those assumptions have been always strengthened through theatrical conventions which mirrored well known pornographic photos, and have been tremendous tricky to beat. This booklet may be of curiosity to scholars and lecturers of theatre reviews, women's stories, and social background.
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Extra info for Actresses as Working Women: Their Social Identity in Victorian England (Gender and Performance Series)
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. 41 The exorbitant salaries of a few late Victorian performers do not reflect the standards of the whole century or the whole of Great Britain.
57 Fitzroy Gardner, Tree’s business manager, tried this principle in 1907: I have just been looking through some notes on salaries paid about ten years ago by managements with which I was connected. Of fifteen names on one list there are eight of actors whose weekly salaries are now on an average over 100 percent more than they were then, and one against whose name £4 stands on my notes but who is now receiving £50 or £60. Among other notes I find against the name of an actress, now refusing engagements at less than £25 a week, a remark entered in my book only five years ago, ‘Decidedly promising.
Both suggest that in the last decades of the nineteenth century the number of performers with a good education and elevated social position steadily grew, and both set out to describe the causes and consequences of this change. Unfortunately, however, the statistical portions of their analyses are extremely weak. In each case, only 38 THE SOCIAL DYNAMIC AND ‘RESPECTABILITY’ performers who were prominent enough to publish an autobiography or to be listed in The Green Room Book or The Era Almanack are actually considered; this leads to prosopography of the actor-manager and leading player classes, which should not pass for a study of the acting profession as a whole.