chapter  7
18 Pages


In order to establish and sustain independent theatrical enterprises, actressentrepreneurs needed either great wealth, access to a patron with great wealth, or enough personal charisma and celebrity to draw large numbers of paying spectators into their theatres. In view of the conditions for successful entrepreneurship, perhaps the theatres founded by Brenko, Abramova, Goreva, and Shabelskaia were doomed from the first. Although Goreva enjoyed a brief vogue, the first female entrepreneurs were minor celebrities who lacked sufficient private resources to sustain their theatres during times of economic crisis. In contrast to their predecessors, the two most prominent actress-managers of the late Imperial period, Lidia Borisovna Iavorskaia and Vera Fedorovna Kommissarzhevskaia, did enjoy the combined advantages of tremendous celebrity and considerable private resources.