The Pioneer Players was a company formed from members of the Actresses' Franchise League. Actresses, like other women at the turn of the 20th century had few rights in the workplace and were paid significantly less than their male colleagues. The Actresses' Franchise League was set up in 1908 to promote the cause of the suffragettes and support their fight to win votes for women.
The production reviewed in these cuttings is The First Actress, the first play to be presented by the Pioneer Players and featuring Ellen Terry. Terry was already a star by this time and was one of the many famous and high earning actresses that supported the League. The cuttings show how mixed reactions were. One journalist celebrated 'the highest histrionic talent', whilst 'The Standard' pompously complained that 'secret societies' were being formed 'to turn the playhouses into temples of propaganda in which the password is 'Votes for Women''.