By Tracy C. Davis
In Victorian society performers have been drawn from various type backgrounds, and loved a different measure of social mobility. however the residing and dealing stipulations of lady performers have been very assorted from these in their male colleagues. Their segregation and focus in low-status jobs, like dancing, assured fiscal lack of confidence. Their makes an attempt to reconcile sexuality and the feminine existence cycle to a bodily not easy, itinerant career less than consistent public scrutiny resulted in assumptions approximately actresses' morality. those assumptions have been consistently strengthened via theatrical conventions which mirrored renowned pornographic photographs, and have been tremendous tricky to beat. This booklet might be of curiosity to scholars and lecturers of theatre experiences, women's stories, and social historical past.
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Extra resources for Actresses as Working Women: Their Social Identity in Victorian England (Gender and Performance Series)
46 Performers’ salaries increased markedly between 1870 and 1885, when a popular soubrette/burlesque actress could expect between £10 and £20 a week without being a pre-eminent exponent of her line of business. 47 Katti Lanner—ballet teacher, choreographer, and contractor to leading companies from 1877—listed the pay rates of child dancers as 1 to 2s. 48 Such rates were not universal. Many players earned less in a year than others earned in a week, and the benefit system (while it was in place) rarely made up the difference.
Instances of couples in severely reduced circumstances (or unsuccessful in finding employment in separate companies) accepting joint engagements are peppered throughout the nineteenth century. In 1809, Holbrook described the hardship of a jointly salaried family: A married couple, whose united salaries amounted to [£]2 10s. per week, travelled in three months 280 miles: [£]14 was thus wrested from them [for fares]; of [£]30 only [£]16 remained, which reduced their income to [L]1 6s. 8d. taking from this 8s.
6d. plus food for working more than thirty hours per week. In contrast, girls tended to remain in domestic industries, and there a 10-year-old might earn 6d. and food for minding a baby for forty-two hours a week. A 7-year-old girl helping a landlady to clean for several hours a day earned only a few pennies a week. One 11 year old girl working every night for four and a half hours in a shop earned a total of 1s. a week. Another girl received 2d. and her food for turning a mangle for three and a half hours daily and for ten hours on Saturdays.