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1. Theater as Career for Ottoman Armenian Women, 1850 to 1910

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Chapter Summary

The chapter conceptualizes acting as a profession for Armenian women against the background of the existing job market for women, on the one hand, and contemporary perceptions of gender norms, on the other. It focuses on the unique position of Armenian women as actresses on both Ottoman Armenian and Ottoman Turkish stages made acting a conceivable choice for women at a time when women's work outside the home was still a controversial issue. Armenians are considered the founders of the modern Ottoman theater, having organized the first Turkish language theater in the 1850s. In 1869, the state granted a ten-year monopoly to the Ottoman Theater founded by Hakob Vardovian. Theater served as a channel for charity when income from the performances was donated to poor and orphan relief societies. The scarcity of women willing to act made actresses the most materially favored among other working women, compared to male actors.

Keywords:Armenian Women; Ottoman Theater; Ottoman Turkish



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