To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Provincial touring companies of the late Victorian period, comprising mostly unknown actors and actresses, have received minimal scholarly attention until recently. The sheer number of ‘on-the-road’ artists who were employed in such enterprises from the late nineteenth century onwards increased to such an extent that to establish a framework for their individual and collective study presents significant challenges. This article addresses this problem by proposing a method, grounded in genealogy, that records the male and/or female artists of a given touring company over its full term without selective bias in order to establish a cohort of subjects for further examination. It tracks the touring companies of actor-manager Lawrence Daly, an individual unheard of today, between 1887 and 1900, the year of his death. One hundred and twenty-five female artists employed by Daly during this period are recovered, and their careers, family histories, and personal identities are subjected to statistical analysis. The conclusions drawn here not only contribute to the better understanding of the social history of non-elite female provincial artists of the late nineteenth century, but also afford the opportunity to shine a light on figures whose names, lives, and achievements are long forgotten. Further, a case is made for the method as the basis for a wide-ranging database of provincial touring companies and artists. Bernard Ince is an independent theatre historian who has contributed several articles on Victorian and Edwardian theatre to New Theatre Quarterly.
The melodrama For Ever, by Paul Meritt and George Conquest, first performed at the Surrey Theatre on 2 October 1882, was a controversial late-Victorian stage production that fed the period’s appetite for dramatic histrionics, exotic displays, and monstrosity. An ephemeral piece that enjoyed no literary archetypes and few revivals, the play’s raison d’être was Conquest’s portrayal of Zacky Pastrana, a ‘man-monkey’, and his unrequited love for the murderous Ruth – a theme unique in the context of simian-based drama. Central to the play’s infamy was the covert allusion to the age-old myth of unnatural unions between simians and humans, and, although condemned as absurd and revolting by some critics, and laughable by others, its notoriety ensured popular success. Drawing on the original script submitted to the Lord Chamberlain for licensing and censoring, and situating Pastrana among famous fictional monstrosities adapted from literature for the British stage, most significantly Caliban, this article is a thematic analysis of Conquest’s unique role. It highlights through a series of interrelated readings how Pastrana’s multidimensional otherness and hybrid fluidity serves as a site of conceptual contention located at the animal–human boundary, exposing the cultural tensions in late-Victorian Britain. Bernard Ince is an independent theatre historian who has contributed earlier studies of the Victorian and Edwardian theatre to NTQ.
In this article Bernard Ince surveys and critically examines for the first time the bizarre phenomenon known as the ‘Monkey Drama’ in the British theatre. A genre of early origin, pre-dating the age of Darwinism, it is to be found in all areas of entertainment, especially during the nineteenth century when the quintessential characteristics of simian mimicry were established. Commonly juxtaposed with the legitimate drama in afterpieces, ‘man-monkey’ spectacles not only blurred conventional man–beast boundaries, but also challenged prevailing conceptions of theatrical legitimacy. The genre attracted myriad performers of varied origins and specialisms, whose ability to mimic simian characteristics stemmed not only from agility and flexibility, but also from careful study of the ‘monkey tribe’ itself. While some familiar names figure among the roll-call of simian impersonators, many artists are little known. Although difficult to quantify precisely, the genre had reached its zenith before the middle of the nineteenth century, the 1820s through the 1840s being a significant formative period. After mid-century, popularity was maintained, but to a lesser degree, largely through pantomime, only to decline significantly after 1900. In a broader context, the study furnishes new material for current interdisciplinary debates regarding the relationship between performance, evolution and visual culture in the Victorian period. Bernard Ince is an independent theatre historian who has contributed earlier studies of the Victorian and Edwardian theatre to New Theatre Quarterly.
In this article Bernard Ince analyzes the characteristics and causes of personal insolvency and bankruptcy among professional theatrical artistes in the Victorian and Edwardian periods, 1830 to 1913, within England and Wales. This offers an illuminating development of the author's previous studies of the impact of bankruptcy laws on the Victorian theatre and the pattern of failures in theatre management over this period. It identifies key points of convergence and divergence between the trends in failure of managers and artistes, considering reasons for these variations and for the number of failures overall. It concludes that prominent among the many causes of insolvency in artistes were touring company failures and irregularity of employment, which goes some way to explain why a higher percentage of artistes than managers were engaged in at least one occupation unrelated to theatre work. The article also provides a necessary methodological foundation for future study of an area that has often been overlooked. Bernard Ince is an independent theatre historian who has contributed earlier studies of tne Victorian and Edwardian theatre to New Theatre Quarterly.
Bernard Ince here surveys insolvency and bankruptcy in the theatres of England and Wales during the period 1830 to 1913. His methodology analyzes failures in absolute and relative terms, using aggregate and disaggregated data. The annual pattern of failure shows a marked volatility in the aggregate, with the absolute number of failures tending to increase towards the 1880s before declining thereafter. When the data are expressed as a rate relative to annual theatre population change, the trend is, however, reversed, failures being much higher in the 1830s and 40s than in the later decades. When annual failures are analyzed alternatively in terms of the number of theatres actually managed or owned by bankrupts, and the data disaggregated between the London and provincial theatres, different patterns of failure emerge, London theatres experiencing higher risk during those early decades, while the provincial Theatres Royal on the other hand are especially vulnerable during the 1830s, 40s, and 50s, and other theatres in the provinces are exposed more during the 1860s. From an analysis of over 200 cases it is clear that factors contributing to theatrical failure are diverse and often complex. Rarely is failure the result of a single catastrophic event but is more often caused by a combination of events, or from the cumulative impact of insolvencies carried over from previous years. While a correlation between annual fluctuations in theatrical failures and cycles in the general economy cannot be firmly established, anecdotal evidence suggests that regional or local conditions play a more important role. It is concluded that while the financial situation of many theatres operated on the limits of financial viability, bankruptcy on a significant scale was uncommon, indicative of remarkable resilience in the face of profound economic, social, political, and legislative change. The author is an independent theatre historian.
The genre commonly referred to as the ‘concert party’ remains largely neglected by scholars of popular entertainment. In this article Bernard Ince presents a new reading of this most distinctive and underrated branch of theatrical activity. The period before the First World War saw the growth of an ‘industry’ which provided seaside amusement during the summer months. During the inter-war years, however, a more sophisticated form developed whose performative characteristics drew increasingly on revue and cabaret. The period after the Second World War saw further adaptations that gave rise to the summer show, an altogether more lavish spectacle that nonetheless inherited much of the concert party ethos of earlier times. Changes in audience expectations and public holiday preferences, the catastrophe of the two world wars, and the emergence of radio and film were challenges all successfully negotiated, further underscoring the resilience and adaptability of the genre. In the wider context, the concert party not only offered a critical path to the variety stage but in the simplicity of basic form also provided a template for experimentation and innovation. The author is an independent theatre historian.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this to your organisation's collection.