Pinafores, Prodigies & Precocities
Discovering Australia's Professional Child Actors
Professional child performers were immensely popular with Australian audiences from 1880 to 1920, starring in pantomimes, comic opera, circus, variety and dramas. Large troupes of child actors toured internationally throughout southern Asia, while some of Australia’s leading child stars also appeared in the United States and Britain. Surprisingly, very little is known about the significant contribution made by child actors to Australia’s vibrant theatre industry of this era.
Cultural historian Gillian Arrighi will reveal how the ephemera, manuscript, music and pictures collections are enabling her to piece together this fascinating history, providing new insights into childhood, and Australia’s theatre industry.
Dr Gillian Arrighi is Senior Lecturer in Creative and Performing Arts at the University of Newcastle. Her research on circus, actors and child performers has been published nationally and internationally in books and essays.
Dr Gillian Arrighi’s fellowship is supported by Library Patrons and Supporters.