The Interwar Actress: From the Stage to the Screen

  • Viktorija Bruneizerytė-Gaidamavičienė
Keywords: actress, star system, Hollywood, celebrity culture, interwar


In different periods, when the actresses appeared on stage, their position was considered, criticised, and constantly discussed. While working and trying to establish herself in a male-dominated market and valued more for her external qualities, the actress was vulnerable and hurt by stereotypical beliefs and assumptions. Ever since a woman first stepped onto the stage, there has been debate about how society should accept her, what she should look like, and how she should behave. Although the mainstream opinion claimed that respectable women did not choose the acting profession, in the nineteenth century a successful actress already became an icon and an object of admiration. The twentieth century brought different changes to the society by popularising photography, cinema, and mass culture, which had a significant effect on the visual representation and reception of women in general and women performers in particular. Therefore, being always in the public eye, the theatre actress encountered a new challenge of representation – the film star. The article aims at presenting the representational changes associated with the emergence of mass culture and the star system, image-building strategies, and the impact of the emergence of cinema.