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Gladys Saqui, Australian-born dancer in the pantomime Aladdin, Grand Theatre, Leeds, Christmas 1907

March 23, 2014

Gladys Saqui (1884-1919), Australian-born dancer, as she appeared as Nicee in the pantomime Aladdin, produced at the Grand Theatre, Leeds, at Christmas 1907. The principal parts in this production were played by Constance Hyem (Aladdin), Nell Emerald (Brigette), Frank Danby (Widow Trankey) and J.F. McArdle (Abanazar). The cast also included Hebe Bliss, G.H. Elliott and Olive Crellin.
(photo; J. Garratt, Leeds, 1907)

Gladys Mignon Saqui was born in Australia in 1884, one of the children of John ‘Jack’ Isaac Saqui (1855-1916), a cigar manufacturer and bookmaker, and his wife Esther (Stella) (née Barnett, 1852?-1946), who were both born in London’s East End and married in 1878. Two of Gladys’s sisters, Maie (1880-1907) and Hazel (1887-1975) were also actresses; the former was married in 1903 as his first wife to Arthur Hope Travers (1875-1938), a Grenadier Guardsman, and the latter was married in 1908 to the well-known actor manager, Nelson Keys (1886-1939). Maie and Gladys Saqui made professional appearances in their native Australia and once in England all three sisters were sometime under contract to George Edwardes. Maie first appeared in London in The Geisha (Daly’s Theatre, 25 April 1896 – 28 May 1898) towards the end of its run. Gladys Saqui appeared on tour and also as a dancer in The New Aladdin (Gaiety Theatre, London, 29 September 1907) and The Belle of Britanny (Queen’s Theatre, London, 24 October 1908).

* * * * *

‘Miss Maie Saqui, the famous Gaiety girl, whose death is announced this week, belonged to a sporting family. Her grandfather, Austen Saqui [Abraham Austin Saqui (1834-1889)], was a well-known bookmaker and owner of racehorses in Australia. Her father, Jack Saqui, followed in his father’s footsteps as a penciller, and began at the early age of 14 years. At the age of 20 he was making books on the Melbourne Cup to the extent of £1,000. About the same time he married. His daughter Maie was trained as a dancer under her aunt, Mrs. [Julia] Green, the well-known teacher of dancing in Melbourne, who was originally a Miss Saqui. Maie was not intended for the stage, but when her father, a wealthy man, lost his money in the land boom, Mrs. Saqui brought her daughter to England, where her brilliant career is known to every one. During more recent years Miss Saqui retired, and left the stage, and although in delicate healthy for some time past, her death came as a great shock to her numerous friends and relatives, among whom is Miss Sadi Green, now married to a son of Mr. Purves, the Melbourne barrister, and residing in England.’
(The Register, Adelaide, South Australia, Saturday, 11 May 1907, p. 4e)

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