Child Labor on the Stage March 11, 1911
Jane Addams held a speech in which she gave at the National Child Labor Committee Conference in Birmingham Alabama. She presented arguments against the exceptions to the 1903 Illinois Child Labor Law for child actors. In Chicago after the law was passed that children could not work or play at night was broken by a play “Peter Pan” got in trouble for still doing night shows and was threatened to be fined. She is concerned that the children do not do this for enjoyment and get to express themselves instead they are taught strenuous lines that they have to repeat over and over again until they reach above the age they need and move onto the next to memorize the lines. Jane Addams states “ So we say that from the point of culture, the putting into life the contribution and gift which each child might make, nothing is much worse than its premature exploitation on the stage.”
Addams, Jane, “Child Labor on the Stage, March 11, 1911,” Jane Addams Digital Edition, accessed April 11, 2018, https://digital.janeaddams.ramapo.edu/items/show/7315.