Stage women, 1900–50 explores the many ways in which women conceptualised, constructed and participated in networks of professional practice in the theatre and performance industries between 1900 and 1950. A timely volume full of original research, the book explores women’s complex negotiations of their agency over both their labour and public representation, and their use of personal and professional networks to sustain their careers. Including a series of case studies that explore a range of well-known and lesser-known women working in theatre, film and popular performance of the period. The volume is divided into two connected parts. ‘Female theatre workers in the social and theatrical realm’ looks at the relationship between women’s work – on- and offstage – and autobiography, activism, technique, touring, education and the law. Part II, ‘Women and popular performance’, focuses on the careers of individual artists, once household names, including Lily Brayton, Ellen Terry, radio star Mabel Constanduros, and Oscar-winning film star Margaret Rutherford. Overall, the book provides new and vibrant cultural histories of women’s work in the theatre and performance industries of the period.
Street theatre and the production of postindustrial space explores how street theatre transforms industrial space into postindustrial space. Deindustrializing communities have increasingly turned to cultural projects to commemorate industrial heritage while simultaneously generating surplus value and jobs in a changing economy. Through analysis of French street theatre companies working out of converted industrial sites, this book reveals how theatre and performance more generally participate in and make historical sense of ongoing urban and economic change. The book argues, firstly, that deindustrialization and redevelopment rely on the spatial and temporal logics of theatre and performance. Redevelopment requires theatrical events and performative acts that revise, resituate, and re-embody particular pasts. The book proposes working memory as a central metaphor for these processes. The book argues, secondly, that in contemporary France street theatre has emerged as working memory's privileged artistic form. If the transition from industrial to postindustrial space relies on theatrical logics, those logics will manifest differently depending on geographic context. The book links the proliferation of street theatre in France since the 1970s to the crisis in Fordist-Taylorist modernity. How have street theatre companies converted spaces of manufacturing into spaces of theatrical production? How do these companies (with municipal governments and developers) connect their work to the work that occurred in these spaces in the past? How do those connections manifest in theatrical events, and how do such events give shape and meaning to redevelopment? Street theatre’s function is both economic and historiographic. It makes the past intelligible as past and useful to the present.
. Therefore this chapter brings together
street theatrehistoriography and performance analysis. In doing so,
it shows how street theatre’s engagement with real and imagined
pasts shapes persistent assumptions about its political efficacy and its
relationship to theatre in purpose-built spaces. French street theatre’s
origin stories trace the form to the protests of May 1968 or link it to
a premodern carnivalesque; in both cases, street theatre is supposed to
transcend the atomization of bodies in space and time by eliminating
the distinction between performer and spectator
) sustainable, postindustrial environments.
The first chapter is set in the urban landscape of the 1970s and
1980s, when artists were increasingly occupying industrial sites that
had become derelict in the aftermath of the economic crisis. Bringing
together street theatrehistoriography and performance analysis of two
long-running, iconic productions – Théâtre de l’Unité’s 2CV Théâtre
(1977–97) and Générik Vapeur’s Bivouac (1988–) – I explain why, in
contemporary France, street theatre has emerged as working memory’s
privileged artistic form. Ultimately, I argue that street