From Diva to Drama Queen

Tracy C. Davis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


This chapter investigates Beerbohm Tree's production of W. Graham Robertson's and Frederic Norton's Pinkie and the Fairies (1908) which starred two very different "prima donnas": the doyenne of London's theatrical world Ellen Terry, a woman who had already reached the highest levels of celebrity in late-nineteenth-century British society, and the diminutive child prodigy Elsie Craven whose career had just begun when she took on the role of Queen of the Fairies. Although Terry and Craven were both received positively in this production, it was the girl who stole the show. The chapter analyses this unanticipated outcome in terms of the ephemeral nature of celebrity and the mutability of the "diva" concept. Davis then draws lessons from Terry's and Craven's experiences to develop taxonomies of "diva" and "drama queen" and to document their role in a new social poetics and a diversification of histrionic identities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Arts of the Prima Donna in the Long Nineteenth Century
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199932054
ISBN (Print)9780195365870
StatePublished - Sep 20 2012


  • Beerbohm tree
  • Celebrity
  • Diva
  • Drama queen
  • Ellen terry
  • Elsie craven
  • Frederic norton
  • Girl
  • Social poetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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