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All roads lead to London – and to the West End theater. This book presents a new history of the beginnings of the modern world of London entertainment. Putting female-centered, gender-challenging managements and styles at the center, it redraws the map of performance history in the Victorian capital of the world. Bratton argues for the importance in Victorian culture of venues like the little Strand Theater and the Gallery of Illustration in Regent Street in the experience of mid-century London, and of plays drawn from the work of Charles Dickens as well as burlesques by the early writers of Punch. Discovering a much more dynamic and often woman-led entertainment industry at the heart of the British Empire, this book seeks a new understanding of the work of women including Eliza Vestris, Mary Ann Keeley and Marie Wilton in creating the template for a magical new theater of music, feeling and spectacle.Read more
- Provides a new, untold history of the beginning of London's West End theatre
- Challenges assumptions about Victorian middle-class leisure and respectable fears, presenting a more positive and relevant history of the modern entertainment world
- Seeks out the women who contributed to the birth of modern performance culture in London, discovering that the entertainment industry was often woman-led
Reviews & endorsements
"A groundbreaking contribution, this book will be of interest to those in the fields of theater history, performance studies, literature, women’s studies, and cultural studies. Good scholarship is generative as well as informative, and The Making of theWest End Stage promises to open new avenues of inquiry about the complex relationship between gender and genre on the Victorian stage."
Journal of British StudiesSee more reviews
"Jacky Bratton's monograph provides a revisionist account of the way in which the West End developed as a theatrical centre from 1830 to 1870, breaking with past histories that have been dismissive of the exuberant, iconoclastic, and disruptive nature of what was happening during these years … this is an important book, opening up new ways in which to examine the making of Victorian theatre and full of new insights to be absorbed and sometimes challenged."
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- Date Published: September 2016
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9781316620830
- length: 232 pages
- dimensions: 228 x 152 x 13 mm
- weight: 0.34kg
- contains: 9 b/w illus. 1 map
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
Part I. Mapping:
1. Why the West End?
2. The Era: hierarchies, seriousness and the organ of the profession
3. Bohemian domesticity: the city of the mind
Part II. Making:
4. Performing the crisis
5. The shaping of West End management
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