© 2016

Child Labor in the British Victorian Entertainment Industry


  • Authors

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Theatre and Performance History book series (PSTPH)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Dyan Colclough
    Pages 1-13
  3. Dyan Colclough
    Pages 75-97
  4. Dyan Colclough
    Pages 165-171
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 173-227

About this book


Child labor greatly contributed to the cultural and economic success of the British Victorian theatrical industry. This book highlights the complexities of the battle for child labor laws, the arguments for the needs of the theatre industry, and the weight of opposition that confronted any attempt to control employers.   


Victorian Theatre Victorian Entertainment Child Entertainers Child Labor theatre management shadow workforce industry theatre Victorian era

About the authors

Dyan Colclough is Associate Lecturer in the Department of History, Politics, and Philosophy at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.   

Bibliographic information


“Child Labor in the British Victorian Entertainment Industry, 1875-1914 provides new insights into the interplay of large social, political, and economic factors with the particularized experience of stage children. It should be read by anyone interested in the history of British childhood, the Victorian era, the economics of theater, and the child-performer industry.” (Shauna Vey, The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth, Vol. 10 (1), 2017) 

"Dyan Colclough has produced a major study which breaks new ground in turning attention to the involvement of children and young people in the British theatre industry. It raises critical questions about their role as wage-earners and makes impressive use of little-known primary evidence to bring their everyday experiences to life. This refreshingly original work is written with clarity and authority. Anyone interested in the history of children in the modern era should read it." - Melanie Tebbutt, Head of Humanities Research Centre, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK