Tactical agency in war work: ‘Anzac Ada’ Reeve, ‘the Soldiers’ Friend’

Lipton, Martina (2012) Tactical agency in war work: ‘Anzac Ada’ Reeve, ‘the Soldiers’ Friend’. Popular Entertainment Studies, 3 1: 7-23.

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Author Lipton, Martina
Title Tactical agency in war work: ‘Anzac Ada’ Reeve, ‘the Soldiers’ Friend’
Journal name Popular Entertainment Studies
ISSN 1837-9303
Publication date 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 3
Issue 1
Start page 7
End page 23
Total pages 17
Place of publication Callaghan, NSW, Australia
Publisher University of Newcastle
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Abstract During World War 1 British stars of theatre and musical hall used their ‘pulling power’ to work as self-appointed charity organisers and recruitment campaigners to help justify the entertainment industry’s existence during war time. Typically these stars aimed to secure record sums of fundraising revenue and recruits. Ada Reeve (1874-1966), a star of music hall, pantomime, musical comedy and revue, entertained soldiers in camps and hospitals in Britain, Egypt, India, Australia and New Zealand. In 1917-18 while touring Australia and New Zealand she used her cachet as a star performer to directly appeal to audiences to donate funds for the Anzac Club and Buffet for Australian and New Zealand soldiers on leave in London. This article examines how Reeve’s specific choice of philanthropic work on and off the theatre stage, fundraising which saved the almost insolvent Anzac Club and Buffet, differentiated her from her counterparts and earned her the accolade of “Anzac Ada.” Her choice of philanthropy strategically worked to augment her identity as a transnational popular theatre star to create a personality that was proclaimed through shared community values and practices, and reframed her as an imperial star and “the soldiers’ friend.: Martina Lipton has published several articles in Australasian Drama Studies, Contemporary Theatre Review, and New Theatre Quarterly on pantomime and early-20th century popular theatre entertainers.
Keyword Actors
Ada Reeve
Charity work
Civic identity
World War One
Theatre Star
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
School of Communication and Arts Publications
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Created: Mon, 15 Apr 2013, 10:56:59 EST by Ms Stormy Wehi on behalf of School of Communication and Arts