By A. Varty
This is often an interdisciplinary examine of kids at the Victorian degree, reading the social and historic context within which teenagers labored within the theatre in the course of the 19th century.
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Additional resources for Children and Theatre in Victorian Britain
Sometimes there was none at all, as is illustrated by the extreme case of the ‘wholesale kidnapping’ of a group of youngsters in Worthing in 1843 for a benefit performance of Stirling’s adaptation of Nicholas Nickleby at the Bijou Theatre: Without the ‘Dotheboys-Hall’ scholars, this performance could not, however, take place. And here was the awkward dilemma. Worthing mothers of the poorer class did not countenance play-acting, believing Old Nick to be in some way connected with it. ’ And he was as good as his word.
Miss Nobbs’ father has invested £20 in three months of lessons for his eighteen year-old daughter from a theatrical agent, money which she hopes to repay from her stage earnings. At the end of this period she discusses with her mother what stage name would serve her best: ‘but w’y er yer in sich an ‘urry ter find a noo nime? ’ ‘Nort claus enough fer the songs I’m a goin’ ter sing,’ replied the girl. ‘The songs yer goin’ ter sing,’ repeated the mother. ‘Thet’s wort yer been s’yin’ fer the laust month er more, an’ nothin’ but tork orl the toime.
Mr. Kendal had, in face of his audience, to kiss one of these objectionable little people, and, noticing that the poor mite cast for the part had a pitiable eruption about the mouth, he resolutely, but certainly not unreasonably, asked for a substitute. There was no difficulty about that, but Mrs. Kendal’s woman’s heart and characteristic ‘quickness’ saw tears gather in the little thing’s eyes, and knew that it (probably it was the offspring of the stage carpenter or the gasman) would have the heartache if it did not appear.