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Treading the BawdsActresses and Playwrights on the Late Stuart Stage$
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Gilli Bush-Bailey

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780719072505

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719072505.001.0001

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Control and influence on the Late Stuart stage

Control and influence on the Late Stuart stage

(p.76) 3 Control and influence on the Late Stuart stage
Treading the Bawds

Bush-Bailey Gilli

Manchester University Press

This chapter considers the ways in which theatre women gained ground in the public sphere of the commercial theatre, and the rise of antagonistic voices against them. The construction of an actress's on-stage identity soon led to the publication of salacious gossip about her off-stage activities: public attacks that might make modern tabloid hacks blush. A study of the construction and exploitation of Elizabeth Barry's and Anne Bracegirdle's public identities demonstrates the potency of these constructs and leads to a wider consideration of their influence on representations of women on the stage. Moves to limit their influence backfired on the management of the patent house, who soon found themselves facing fierce competition from a rival company.

Keywords:   theatre women, commercial theatre, stage actresses, gossip, Elizabeth Barry, Anne Bracegirdle

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