Performing Herself

Autobiography and Fanny Kelly's Dramatic Recollections

By Gilli Bush-Bailey

Performing Herself

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-7921-4
  • Pages: 224
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £60.00
  • Published Date: May 2011
  • BIC Category: Theatre Studies, Theatre studies, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Women's Studies, PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / History & Criticism, Society & social sciences / Gender studies: women, The arts / Theatre studies
  • Series: Women, Theatre and Performance


This unique book contains the never before published script of the first ever one-woman show, written by Fanny Kelly. The script was performed in Britain in the 1830s and 40s, based on Kelly's own experiences and offers a picture of the exuberant and often bizarre Georgian entertainment world.

The performance text is introduced, edited and explained by Gilli Bush-Bailey, who focuses 21st-century revisionist scholarship on Kelly's story. It is an innovative contribution to the modern debate on biographical and autobiographical writing, whilst also being a valuable text for those who wish to study comedy and women's performance. The materials and methods of the modern stand-up routine are already to be seen in this unusual text.

This book will appeal to students and scholars who are involved in performance, theatre history, or biography. It is also an accessible text for the interested general reader.


'Performing Herself' should immediately become required reading for any historiography class... a slim volume that packs a big punch.
Theatre Research International 37 (2) 2012


List of illustrations
Part One: A Performance Biography
Part Two: Dramatic Recollections - An annotated edition


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

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