1st Edition

Touring Performance and Global Exchange 1850-1960 Making Tracks

Edited By Gilli Bush-Bailey, Kate Flaherty Copyright 2022
    294 Pages 24 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    294 Pages 24 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This collection uncovers connections and coincidences that challenge the old stories of pioneering performers who crossed the Atlantic and Pacific oceans from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century.

    It investigates songlines, drama, opera, music theatre, dance, and circus—removing traditional boundaries that separate studies of performance, and celebrating difference and transformation in style, intention, and delivery. Well known, or obscure, travelling performers faced dangers at sea and hazardous journeys across land. Their tracks, made in pursuit of fortune and fame, intersected with those made by earlier storytellers in search for food. Touring Performance and Global Exchange takes a fresh look at such tracks—the material remains—demonstrating that moving performance does far more than transfer repertoires and people; it transforms them. Touring performance has too often beenconceived in diasporic terms, as a fixed product radiating out from a cultural centre. This collection maps different patterns—ones that comprise reversed flows, cross currents, and continually proliferating centres of meaning in complex networks of global exchange.

    This collection will be of great interest to scholars and students in theatre, music, drama studies, and cultural history.

    List of Illustrations



    Introduction: Kate Flaherty and Gilli Bush-Bailey

    Vanishing cts and Making Tracks

    1: Diana James and Inawinytji Williamson

    Kungkarangkalpa: Travelling Women of the Seven Sisters Songline

    Part 1: Ephemerality and creative methodology

    2: Joanne Tompkins and Liyang Xia

    Mid-Nineteenth-Century Cantonese Opera Performances in the Victorian Goldfields

    3: Jacky Bratton and Gilli Bush-Bailey

    Bodies of Evidence: The unremarkable history of Emma Stanley (1816-1881)

    4: Anna-Sophie Jürgens

    Lady Clowns: Clown-Ballerinas, Dancing "Clownesses" and Female Clowns on the Popular Stage around 1900

    5: Jane Woollard (University of Tasmania)

    Tracks, Knots, Stage Tact and Boots: A Reflection




    Part II: Peril, illness and ageing

    6: Marlis Schweitzer

    "It Was a Most Beautiful Moonlit Night...": Mrs. John Drew’s Shipwreck Narratives

    7: Peta Tait

    Risk and Colonial Touring: Female Circus Performers in Aerial and Lion Acts

    8: Janice Norwood

    Reading Race, Repertoire and Transcontinental Reception through Madame Celeste’s Colonial Encounter

    9: Kerry Murphy

    "Covent Garden on Wheels" Thomas Quinlan’s Operatic tours of 1912–1914 and beyond

    10: Laura Ginters

    "Let me come to Athens [/Lamplough], shelter me, accept me in your home": Medea Transported to the Goldfields and Beyond in Nineteenth-Century Australia.

    Part III: Reversing flows and Cross currents

    11: Kate Flaherty

    Fanny Kemble, Slavery, and Transatlantic Commodity Trade

    12: Katherine K. Preston

    Women Take Control: Managers of English-Language Opera Companies in Late 19th-Century America

    13: Sarah Balkin

    Transporting Humour: Artemus Ward and American Comedy in Britain

    14: Gillian Arrighi

    Australian Child Actors on Early Twentieth-century Touring Circuits

    15: Mark Houlahan

    Crossing the Ditch: Trans-Tasman Stages 1841-1896

    16: Veronica Kelly (University of Queensland)

    Between the "Theatre Game" and Anthropology: International and Indigenous Black Women Entertainers Perform Modernity in Australia 1950s-1960s


    Gilli Bush-Bailey is Professor Emerita of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London, United Kingdom.

    Kate Flaherty is a Senior Lecturer in English and Drama at the Australian National University.

    ''This highly readable and informative collection of essays brings together an outstanding international group of (largely) female scholars in an exploration of global theatrical touring 1850-1960. There is a strong Australasian focus to the volume, although examples and outcomes of transatlantic touring are also considered. An emphasis on female performers and managers enables contributors to provide fresh and more nuanced histories of the types of cultural exchange made possible by touring, challenging the supremacy of earlier male-dominated narratives. This is a welcome addition to the burgeoning literature on the history of theatrical touring, exploring hitherto uncharted territory and offering new insights into the significance of the journeys, experiences and performances recounted by its authors.'' Jim Davis, Professor of Theatre Studies, University of Warwick 

    ''Celebrity does you no good when you're choked by a dusty road or thrown about by a tempestuous sea: neither natural nor economic disasters spare the famous. As this fresh collection of essays demonstrates, the economic perspective of theatrical arts as global commodities trafficked between continents intrinsically depends upon talented and persevering individuals to take drama, comedy, opera. circus, dance, and storytelling to metropoles as well as hinterlands. Emphasizing the travel vectors in British (and formerly British) settler-colonies for women (Indigenous, white, and Black diasporic), children, and the impresarios who promoted them, this collection brings the lived reality of travel and survival vividly to the fore.'' Tracy C. Davis, Professor of Theatre, English, and Performance Studies, Northwestern University