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Chapter 15 - Company Administration

from Part III - Theatrical Context (Paris)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 November 2022

Jan Clarke
Affiliation:
University of Durham
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Summary

This chapter considers the supposedly ‘democratic’ way in which seventeenth-century theatre companies managed their affairs. Each troupe consisted of a number of share-holding actor members, and decisions relating to all aspects of the company’s activity were taken at meetings convened for particular purposes, whether general administration, play selection or to settle the end of year accounts. Women generally played an equal administrative role alongside men, and this is recognised as one of the few areas where such gender equality was the norm. Following Molière’s death, theatre companies came under the control of the First Gentlemen of the King’s Bedchamber, and (male) officers were appointed from among the actors to ensure liaison with them. The acting troupe was supported by a team of front-of-house and backstage staff, who were paid per performance, and where women were also well represented, particularly in the box office and other ‘front facing’ roles. Many of these women were former actresses, and this was one career that was open to them when they had to leave the stage. The company was also careful to look after its own, awarding pensions to former actors and employees and supporting other individuals by means of charitable donations.

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Molière in Context , pp. 146 - 153
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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