Drawing on feminist cultural materialist theories and historiographies, 'Treading the bawds' analyses the collaboration between actresses Elizabeth Barry and Anne Bracegirdle and women playwrights such as Aphra Behn and Mary Pix, and traces a line of influence from the time of the first theatres royal to the rebellion that resulted in the creation of a player's co-operative.
Bush-Bailey offers a fresh approach to the history of women, seeing their neglected plays in the context of performance.
By combining detailed analysis of selected plays within the broader context of a playhouse managed by its leading actresses, Bush-Bailey challenges the received historical and literary canons, including a radical solution to the mysterious identity of the anonymous playwright 'Ariadne'.
It is a story of female collaboration and influence with the spotlight focused on the very public world of women in the commercial business of theatre. -- .