Activity: Participating in or organising an event types › Invited talk
QUORUM (Queen Mary, University of London, Research Talks Series) Off Stage Labour: Actresses, Charity Work And The Early Twentieth-Century Theatre Profession
Frequent charity appearances were an anticipated part of the high-profile stage performer’s offstage professional activity during the early years of the twentieth century, yet charity labour and its role in perceptions and the status of the theatre industry has been largely overlooked. This paper will consider two public charity events that took place at Harrods Department store in the pre-First World War period: The Salon of Fragrance and Fair Women (1911) and the Red Cross Shopping Day (1915). Both occasions involved a large number of well-known London actresses. Consideration of this area of high-profile public activity illustrates the complexity of the British theatre industry and the ways in which off-stage activity established and nourished off-stage social, cultural and professional networks that sustained early twentieth-century theatre. It questions how and why we might need to step outside of theatres in order to understand the status and economics of the theatre industry and the day-to-day working lives of its personnel.