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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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Re-forming the stage

Re-forming the stage

Chapter:
(p.157) 6 Re-forming the stage
Source:
Treading the Bawds
Author(s):

Don Randall

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719072505.003.0007

The season of 1697/8 marks a crucial period in theatre history and an extraordinary chapter in the history of theatre women. In no other season on the late Stuart stage were so many new plays by female playwrights performed by the same company in the same playhouse. Competition between the two houses was still fierce and an act of overt plagiarism by the Patent Company fuelled the ongoing animosity. The Players' Company maintained its commercially successful edge over its rivals, and this season can be seen to represent the peak of Elizabeth Barry and Anne Bracegirdle's joint career as actress/managers at Lincoln's Inn Fields. But this was also the season in which the entire theatrical community was beleaguered by determined moves to curb the activities of the playhouse. Objections to the immorality of the stage were supported and refuted in a flurry of publications that marked out the battle lines. The place of women in the theatre – on and off stage – was part of that moral debate. The diversity of the work co-produced by female playwrights and actresses in this season is all the more remarkable when considered in the context of the upheavals caused by the anti-theatrical lobby.

Keywords:   female playwrights, theatre actresses, theatre women, Patent Company, Players' Company, Lincoln's Inn Fields

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