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Victorian touring actressesCrossing boundaries and negotiating the cultural landscape$
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Janice Norwood

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781526133328

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7765/9781526133335

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PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 30 July 2021

Establishing a name

Establishing a name

(p.46) 2 Establishing a name
Victorian touring actresses

Janice Norwood

Manchester University Press

For an actress with ambitions of stardom on the competitive Victorian stage, establishing a recognisable name and identity was fundamental to her success in gaining and then maintaining employment. This chapter addresses issues of identity by considering how it is framed by the repertoire she adopts and how she chooses to present her own history. Career advancement in the mid-nineteenth century was linked to a stratified framework embedded in the stock company structure and divided into distinct lines of business. Analysis focuses on the progression from juvenile to leading lady and two contrasting dramatic specialisms – the burlesque actress and the ‘heavy woman’ – to reveal the implications of playing specific types of role in terms of employment opportunities and image creation. Featured cases include cross-dressed Hamlet portrayals and spurious self-fashioning.

Keywords:   identity, lines of business, repertoire, stock company, juvenile, leading lady, burlesque, heavy woman, Hamlet, self-fashioning

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