Victorian touring actresses

Crossing boundaries and negotiating the cultural landscape

By Janice Norwood

Victorian touring actresses


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-3332-8
  • Pages: 288
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: May 2020
  • BIC Category: PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / Direction & Production, PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / History & Criticism, Society & social sciences / Gender studies: women, Theatre Direction & Production, The arts / Theatre studies
  • Series: Women, Theatre and Performance


Victorian touring actresses brings new attention to women's experience of working in nineteenth-century theatre by focusing on a diverse group of largely forgotten 'mid-tier' performers, rather than the usual celebrity figures. It examines how actresses responded to changing political, economic and social circumstances and how the women were themselves agents of change. Their histories reveal dynamic patterns of activity within the theatrical industry and expose its relationship to wider Victorian culture. With an innovative organisation mimicking the stages of an actress's life and career, the volume draws on new archival research and plentiful illustrations to examine the challenges and opportunities facing the women as they toured both within the UK and further afield in North America and Australasia. It will appeal to students and researchers in theatre and performance history, Victorian studies, gender studies and transatlantic studies.


'. an exceptionally detailed account of the triumphs and tragedies of selected English actresses who toured during the second half of the 19th century. The author carefully documents their entire careers, as measured by performances, playdates, and venues, plus reviews and various sources of biographical information.'
Reprinted with permission from Choice Reviews. All rights reserved. Copyright by the American Library Association



Theatre Book Prize


1 Debuts and learning the craft
2 Establishing a name
3 Working life in the UK
4 Touring North America
5 Long-distance colonial touring
6 Management
7 Off stage: family and personal life
8 Closing scenes: the ageing actress
Short biographies


Janice Norwood is Senior Lecturer in English Literature, Drama and Theatre Studies at the University of Hertfordshire

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