1st Edition

Getting Into the Act Women Playwrights in London 1776-1829

By Ellen Donkin Copyright 1994
    256 Pages
    by Routledge

    254 Pages
    by Routledge

    Getting Into the Act is a vigorous and refreshing account of seven female playwrights who, against all odds, enjoyed professional success in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Ellen Donkin relates fascinating, disturbing tales about the male theatre managers to whom they were indebted, and the trials and prejudices they endured, ranging from accusations of plagiarism to sexual harassment.
    This scarred turbulent early history still resonates in the late twentieth-century. The current ratio of female to male playwrights is virtually unchanged. Old patterns of male control persist, and playwriting continues to be a hazardous occupation for women. But within these scarred earlier histories there are equally powerful narratives of self-revelation, endurance, and professional triumph that may point to a new way forward. Getting Into the Act is entertaining and informative reading for anyone, from scholar to general reader, who is interested in the history and gender politics of the stage.

    List of Illustrations List of Figures Acknowledgements Chapter One: Getting Into the Act Chapter Two: Frances Brooke: The Female Playwright as Critic Chapter Three: The Paper War of Hannah Cowley and Hannah More Chapter Four: Sophia Lee: Documenting the Post-Garrick Era Chapter Five: Advantage, Mrs Inchbald Chapter Six: Frnaces Burney and the Protection Racket Chapter Seven: Joanna Baillie vs. the Termites Bellicosus Chapter Eight: Afterpiece Notes Bibliography Index


    Ellen Donkin teaches theatre at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. She is the co-editor with Susan Clement of Upstaging Big Daddy: Directing Theater as if Gender and Race Matter and has written widely on issues of gender in theatre history and practice.

    `Her knowledge of the bureaucray of theatre - the dfficulties posed by patenting of theatres, the legal restrictions of the Licensing Act, and the unpredictability of the benefits system - is thorough and informative.' - TLS