Treading the bawds

Actresses and playwrights on the Late Stuart stage

By Gilli Bush-Bailey

Treading the bawds


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-7251-2
  • Pages: 272
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £17.99
  • Published Date: July 2009
  • BIC Category: The arts / Theatre studies, Society & social sciences / Gender studies: women, PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / History & Criticism, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Women's Studies, Theatre studies, Theatre Studies, Early Modern Literature
  • Series: Women, Theatre and Performance


Drawing on feminist cultural materialist theories and historiographies, 'Treading the bawds' analyses the collaboration between actresses Elizabeth Barry and Anne Bracegirdle and women playwrights such as Aphra Behn and Mary Pix, and traces a line of influence from the time of the first theatres royal to the rebellion that resulted in the creation of a player's co-operative.

Bush-Bailey offers a fresh approach to the history of women, seeing their neglected plays in the context of performance. By combining detailed analysis of selected plays within the broader context of a playhouse managed by its leading actresses, Bush-Bailey challenges the received historical and literary canons, including a radical solution to the mysterious identity of the anonymous playwright 'Ariadne'. It is a story of female collaboration and influence with the spotlight focused on the very public world of women in the commercial business of theatre.


Part One: Background
1. In the company of women
2. United we stand
3. Control and influence on the Late Stuart Stage
Part Two: The Players' Company at Lincoln's Inn Fields
4. New moves, new voices
5. Competition and criticism
6. Re-forming the stage
7. Old stories, new histories
8. Certainly not a conclusion


Gilli Bush-Bailey is Lecturer in the Department of Drama and Theatre at Royal Holloway, University of London

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