November 18, 2010
Child performers on the Elizabethan stage were subjected to abduction, cruelty and violence, reveals a study by a University of Oxford academic.
Dr Bart van Es says court documents show some child actors had been forcibly snatched from the streets and threatened into performing.
Their parents were then legally obstructed from rescuing them from working in London’s seediest theatres.
Dr van Es says these children faced “systematic exploitation and abuse”.
The study of London’s theatre in the late 16th and early 17th Century reveals a dark underside of cruelty to children.
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