Posts Tagged ‘ballet dancer’


Fred Aretlli

April 25, 2013

a carte de visite photograph of Fred Artelli (fl. 1870s-1890s), ballet dancer and Harlequin
(photo: T.J. Tungate, 35 Queen Street, Edgware Road, London, circa 1875, negative number 1504)

Theatre Royal, Liverpool
‘To make way for novelties which are certain to please ”Royal” patrons, Humpty Dumpty has signified that he will shortly quit the sphere of his prosperous career at the patent Theatre. The lovely scenery, lively business, and talented company have contributed in a large measure to the success of the Pantomime, and the author (Mr J.F. M’Ardle) has displayed an ingenuity in connection with its construction which cannot be too highly praised. His peculiar ”Argument,” like the ancient ”Chorus,” is worth reproducing, and is to the following effect:- ”There was seen a great stone, and in ye midst thereof was like an anvil of steel, and therein stack a fair sword naked by ye point, and letters there were written in gold about ye sword that said thusly:- ‘Whoso pulleth out this sword of this stone is rightwise kind born of all England!’ Then ye people marvelled muchly, and all ye knithts and ye squires went to behld ye stone and ye sword. And when they say ye scripture some assayed, such as would have been king. But none mote stir ye sword nor move it. ‘Marry come up, beshrew my heart, i’ fackins, by my halidame,’ exclaimed Arthur, ’ I shall gette that sworde, or, as ye manne in ye playe sayeth, I will perish in ye attempt.’ Accordingly, he dydde get ye sworde from ye stone, and he overcame ye villaine Surlichurl, and ye wicked Impe, yclept Humpty Dumpty, and married ye Lady Guinevere, ye king’s daughter, and Arthur’s sweethearte, and, like all ye folkes who gette married, they lived happy ever afterwards. (For all ye further particulars see ye Small Bills, and ye Grande Pantomime itself. N.B. – Ye children in arms not admitted by themselves.)” The Harlequinade is of the most bustling kind, the principals being Madame Elise (Columbine), Miss E. Rowella (Harlequin à la Watteau), Signor Artelli (Harlequin), Mr A. Bolton and Mr E. Burgess Pantaloons), the De Castro troupe (Sprites, and Dolph Rowella and the Great Little Rowella (Clowns).’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 4 February 1877, p. 8d)

‘Great Success every Evening of
‘SIGNOR FRED. ARTELLI’S COMIC BALLET TROUPE. At Liberty for Fetes and Galas. For terms, address, Mr GEORGE HADLIEGE HUNT, Park Theatre, Camden-town.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 6 May 1877, p. 15b)

‘MR EDITOR. – Sir, – will you allow me to state that, owing to the illness of Mr Willie Warde, the part of Rapless, the oofless swell, in Round the Town, at the Empire, Leicester-square, has been played for some considerable time by, yours faithfully, FRED. ARTELLI
‘Empire Theatre, June 6th, 1893.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 10 June 1893, p. 17c)

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For references to Artelli’s appearances at the Empire Theatre, Leicester Square, London, during the 1890s, see Ivor Guest, Ballet in Leicester Square, Dance Books, London, 1992.


Bessie Butt

April 16, 2013

Bessie Butt (fl. early 20th century), English dancer, actress and singer, as principal boy in Aladdin, pantomime, Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Christmas 1909
(photo: Langfier, Glasgow, 1909)

‘Born in London within the sound of Bow Bells [the traditional description of a Cockney], Miss Bessie Butt commenced her stage career at a very early age by playing the child part in [Minnie Palmer’s popular vehicle] My Sweetheart. While still in her early ‘teens she toured through many European countries in company with her brothers – the Reed Family – and made quite a big reputation as a transformation dancer, being billed as “Baby Butt.” An unfortunate illness kept her from the stage for a long period, and her next appearance was under the management of Mr. John Tiller, who looked upon her as one of the most promising of his young recruits.
‘Having ambitions, Miss Butt decided on doing a single turn on the halls, and at once sprang into popularity wherever she appeared. The late Walter Summers saw her, and recommended her so highly to Mr Robert Arthur that she was engaged by him as second girl for the Kennington theatre pantomime of Red Riding Hood, and there she made her first great success in [singing] “Ma blushing Rosie.” The late Clement Scott [dramatist and theatre critic, 1841-1904] was so taken with this number that he went several times to hear it. Miss butt’s next appearance was [on tour] under the management of Mr. George Edwardes as Susan in The Toreador [originated by Violet Lloyd, Gaiety, London, 17 June 1901], and this was followed by Sophie in A Country Girl [originated by Ethel Irving, Daly’s, London, 18 January 1902] and Thisbe in The Orchid [originated by Gabrielle Ray, Gaiety, London, 26 October 1903]. After this she was for twelve months at the London Coliseum, where she created several parts, notably the Black Pearl in Mr. Leslie Stuart’s song specially written for Mr. Eugene Stratton, and produced at the Coliseum in 1905. She also appeared as a wonderfully life-like doll in Mr. Will Bishop’s [ballet] My Gollywog. This was in 1906.
‘A pantomime engagement as Cinderella at Cheltenham was followed by a return to the halls under the managements of Mr. Oswald Stoll, the late Mr. G.A. Payne, and others; and then Miss Butt was seen and secured by Mr. Lester Collingwood to play the title roole in his pantomime of Cinderella at the Alexandra, Birmingham, in 1907. The success was phenomenal, as the run of the pantomime was a record for the country. On that occasion also Miss Butt won the “Owl” cake and diamond ring in a local beauty competition. This year Miss Butt has discarded skirts and gone in for principal boy, and as Dandini at the Royal County Theatre, Kingston, she is undoubtedly the hit of a most successful [Cinderella] pantomime [; other members of the cast were Dorothy Grassdorf, Hilda Vining and Laurie Wylie]. During her short career she has introduced many popular songs, of which probably the most successful have been “Scarecrow,” “Amelia Snow,” “Cherries are blooming,” “Peggy, the pride of the Mill,” and “Sunshine Soo,” her latest effusion, which is likely to eclipse in popularity all the others.
Gifted with youth, beauty, a sweetly clear and distinct voice, a genius for dancing, and unlimited vivacity, there is no knowing to what heights this clever lady may aspire.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 30 January 1909, p.13c)

Bessie Butt

Bessie Butt
(photo: White, Bradford, circa 1908)