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Louie Freear as Reggie in The Babes in the Wood, Theatre Royal, Manchester, Christmas 1898

January 10, 2015

Louie Freear (1871-1939), English actress and singer, as she appeared as Reggie the boy babe in The Babes in the Wood, the pantomime produced at the Theatre Royal, Manchester, on 24 December 1898.
(photo: Lafayette, Manchester, 1898/99; for another pose from this sitting, see The Sketch, London, Wednesday, 15 March 1899, p. 330)

‘A curious and interesting experiment will be tried in Manchester at Christmas [1898]. When the Drury-lane Babes in the Wood is reproduced at the Theatre Royal. Mr Dan Leon’s part will be played by Miss Louie Freear, who is to have the noble salary of £110 a-week. The girl babe [Chrissie] will be Mr [John] Brabourne.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 7 May 1898, p. 12a)

‘The pantomime of The Babes in the Wood, which was produced at Drury-lane last year with Mr Dan Leno as a central figure, has been transplanted to the Theatre Royal, Manchester. With its adornment of local allusions and up-to-date matter of general interest, and the inevitable fun which must ever attend the efforts of such favourites as Miss Maggie Duggan [Prince Paragon], Miss Louie Freear, and Mr Thomas E. Murray [the Baron], the revivified Babes in the Wood promises to have a most successful run. One scene which promised to develop as a mirth-provoking incident of the pantomime is a schoolroom episode which even at this early period provides a fund of irresistible merriment. Another novelty of the pantomime, s those who saw it in London well know, is that the babes, Miss Louie Freear and Mr Brabourne, are not the usual innocent victims of a designing baron. They are real, live babes with a penchant for mischief which provokes merriment all round, and Miss Louie Freear’s dry humour, which takes the form of a quiet, spontaneous wit, rather than vivacious liveliness, is droll and invigorating in the extreme… .’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 31 December 1898, p. 24d)

* * * * *

Louie Freear (real name Louisa Freear), one of the children of Henry Butler Freear (1840/41-1879), an actor, and his wife Mary (née Burke, 1835-), was baptised at St. John’s, Waterloo Road, Lambeth, Surrey, on 17 December 1871. Both her parents were born in Ireland, where they were married in 1860. She was married in 1912 to Charles Shepherd (who is thought to have died in 1963) and died in 1939.

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