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Nineteenth-century Manchester theatre architecture and the urban spectator
Viv Gardner

Viv Gardner’s essay begins with a discussion of ‘scuttling’ incidents in Manchester in the 1890s, originating in music hall and theatre venues and spilling onto the streets, and the debates in the press about these. This leads her into a study of the complex relationship of performance, performance sites and urban spectatorship in Manchester in the period, with a particular focus on theatre architecture and urban topography. The essay considers the supposed ‘rapprochement of polite and popular culture’, and offers a detailed study of the programmes and audiences at a variety of venues.

in Culture in Manchester
Women performers and the law in the ‘long’ Edwardian period
Viv Gardner

In the period leading up to the First World War, British women increasingly used the courts as a platform to challenge their lower legal, social and political status in Edwardian society, most notably in the defences mounted by militant suffragists at the Old Bailey in May 1912. In a different way, women performers – frequently backed by their commercial managers and publicists – were using the courts to argue for self-determination and control, particularly of their public image. This chapter explores the social, legal and commercial context of a range of libel cases – some successful, others not – brought by women performers.

in Stage women, 1900–50
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Actor and activist

The autobiography of Kitty Marion was written in the early 1930s but never published. It records Marion’s childhood in Germany, her life in British provincial theatre and music hall and her campaigns against the ‘casting couch’, a career as a militant suffragist or suffragette during which she committed numerous acts of arson, was imprisoned and suffered force feeding, and finally her move to America and involvement in the American birth control movement. The Epilogue details her life in New York after the end of the autobiography, including her work in the Federal Theatre Project, while the three appendices reproduce extracts from key archive documents which throw additional light on the autobiography. An Introduction outlines the problems Marion incurred trying to publish her story, its subsequent history and addresses some of the issues that her story raises about women’s history of activism.

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Viv Gardner
and
Diane Atkinson
in Kitty Marion
Abstract only
Viv Gardner
and
Diane Atkinson

Chapters 1 to 7 cover Katherine Marie Schafer’s (Kitty Marion’s) childhood in Germany, from her birth in 1871 until her departure for England in 1886. Her account includes the deaths of both her mother and her step-mother, and life with her at times violent engineer father,.

in Kitty Marion
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Viv Gardner
and
Diane Atkinson

Chapters 8 to 34 cover Kitty Marion’s life in Britain with her aunt and family in an eastern suburb of London, her decision to go on the stage and experience of provincial theatre across the United Kingdom. She began in pantomime and musical comedy, moving into music hall in the early 1900s. She writes about life as a touring performer and frequently about the experiences of the sexual pressure and abuse which women in theatre encountered, and her campaigns with the Actresses Franchise League to force the government to address the issue.

in Kitty Marion
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Viv Gardner
and
Diane Atkinson

Chapters 35 to 56 cover Kitty Marion’s period as a suffragette within the Pankhursts’ Women’s Social and Political Union, which she joined in 1908, her militancy, including arson attacks, imprisonment in Holloway Prison and other prisons, hunger striking and force feeding.

in Kitty Marion
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Viv Gardner
and
Diane Atkinson

These chapters trace Kitty Marion’s life after the end of militant suffrage activity, her treatment by the government under the Defence of the Realm Act, and subsequent decision to travel to the United States.

in Kitty Marion
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Viv Gardner
and
Diane Atkinson

This chapter covers Kitty Marion’s reception in New York by the American women’s suffrage movement and her struggles to find employment in theatre and film.

in Kitty Marion
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Viv Gardner
and
Diane Atkinson

These chapters cover Kitty Marion’s involvement with Margaret Sanger and the American birth control movement, her work selling the Birth Control Review (BCR) on Broadway, and several imprisonments. Marion also visited England on three occasions during this time, the last for the unveiling of Mrs Pankhurst’s statue in London. She became an American citizen in 1922. In 1930 her work with the BCR was terminated. Marion struggled to find a living and decided to write her life-story.

in Kitty Marion