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The Making of the West End Stage
Marriage, Management and the Mapping of Gender in London, 1830–1870

  • Date Published: September 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316620830


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About the Authors
  • All roads lead to London - and to the West End theatre. This book presents a new history of the beginnings of the modern world of London entertainment. Putting female-centred, gender-challenging managements and styles at the centre, 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 Theatre 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 theatre of music, feeling and spectacle.

    • 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
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '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.' Victorian Studies

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    Product details

    • 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
    6. Showtime

  • Author

    Jacky Bratton, Royal Holloway, University of London
    Jacky Bratton is Professor of Theatre and Cultural History at Royal Holloway, University of London. She is the author of New Readings in Theatre History (2003) and, with Ann Featherstone, The Victorian Clown (2006), which published previously unknown materials by Victorian comedians. In 2010 some of these stories were given a series of Radio 4 readings. She contributes to many radio and TV programmes about Victorian theatre.

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