By Anne Varty (auth.)

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Additional info for Children and Theatre in Victorian Britain: ‘All Work, No Play’

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125 Mrs Kean, like Harris after her, reached for money as a cure. Training did not include drills on what to do in emergencies, the most frequently encountered of which was fire, a special hazard during the nineteenth century because of the inflammable fabrics of the environment and its technologies. Legislation was introduced several times to minimise the dangers to actors and audience alike, culminating in the Metropolis Management and Building Acts Amendment of 1878. 126 An account of the burning of the Surrey Theatre during a pantomime run, in January 1865, illustrates the dangers: For the second time the old Surrey Theatre has been totally destroyed by fire ...

112 Lanner was a business woman as well as an artist. For her there was an economy of scale to be considered when producing a ballet which, in the 1890s, cost Training Juvenile Actors 35 anything from £4000, with an expected run from eight to thirteen months. Participating children required, therefore, both stamina and patience. She found boys to be deficient in these virtues, declaring that she would not like to take boys because 'I find girls quite enough'; Sometimes they come late on the stage, don't get into their right place, fall out of line.

101 Her disadvantages in comparison with children who start early are plain. Her wages are barely more than the fifteen shillings a week which the nine year-old Ellen Terry earned in 1856 for her performance of Puck in A Midsummer Night:S Dream at the Princess's Theatre. Her display of stage fright contrasts starkly with the unselfconscious approach adopted by, for example, Marie Wilton and Madge Robertson whose comic breaches of performance with direct address to friends in the audience suggest that they experienced stage, auditorium and home as a seamless whole in which anxiety of this sort played little part.

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