Posts Tagged ‘C. Aubrey Smith’


An incident in the original production of H.A. Jone’s play, The Masqueraders, London, 1894

November 30, 2014

an incident from the original production of Henry Arthur Jones‘s play, The Masqueraders with, left to right, Mrs Edward Saker as Lady Crandover, Beryl Faber as Lady Charles Reindean, W.G. Elliott as Montagu Lushington and Irene Vanbrugh as Charley Wisranger. The play opened at the St. James’s Theatre, London, on 28 April 1894.
(cabinet photo: Alfred Ellis, 20 Upper Baker Street, London, NW, negative no. 16228-2)

Emily Mary Kate Saker (1847-1912) was the widow of the actor manager, Edward Sloman Saker (1838-1883); before her marriage she was known on the stage as Marie O’Berne (or O’Beirne).

Beryl Crossley Faber (1872-1912) was the first wife of the playwright and novelist, Cosmo Hamilton (1870-1942). She was also the sister of the stage and film actor, C. Aubrey Smith.

Irene Vanbrugh (née Irene Barnes) (1872-1949) was married in 1901 to the actor and director, Dion Boucicault junior.


C. Aubrey Smith and Reginald Sheffield in an incident from the play Evidence, produced at the Lyric Theatre, New York, 7 October 1914

April 6, 2014

C. Aubrey Smith (1863-1948), English actor, and Reginald Sheffield (1901-1957), English-born American actor, in an incident from the play Evidence, which was produced at the Lyric Theatre, New York, on 7 October 1914.
(photo: White, New York, 1914)

‘If the war abroad has not materially affected the general theatrical situation in this country, it certainly has in the cities of Europe, and present indications are that there will be a shifting of practically all the dramatic capitals abroad to New York.
‘The Westward movement has already begun, and a number of productions originally scheduled for London now have New York as their objective. An instance is the new play, Evidence, which was recently produced in this city. C. Aubrey Smith, the actor who heads the company here, bought this play some time ago from the authors, J. and L. du Rocher Macpherson, and negotiated for its presentation at one of the leading theatres of London. Then war suddenly broke out and Mr. Smith was compelled to cancel his arrangements and make others. He at once communicated with New York, where he had planned to present Evidence later, and asked that the American production be given at once. The proposition was taken up by a group of managers here and, after some further adjustment, all shared on the managerial end for the New York production. Therefore Mr. Smith, together with Haidee Wright, Viva Birkett, Reginald Sheffield and a few other players whom he had already engaged for the intended London premiere, came to America for the production.
(The New York Clipper, New York, Saturday, 24 October 1914, p. 6e)


Sydney Valentine in The Light that Failed, Lyric Theatre, London, 1903

February 11, 2014

Sydney Valentine (1865-1919), English actor, as he appeared in the role of J.G. Fordham (‘Nilghai’) in the first production of The Light That Failed by George Fleming after the novel of the same name by Rudyard Kipling, published in 1890.
(photo: probably Bassano for The Play Pictorial, London, 1903)

The play, whose cast also included Johnston Forbes-Robertson, C. Aubrey Smith, Leon Quartermaine, Gertrude Elliott, Margaret Halston and Nina Boucicault, ran at the Lyric Theatre, London, from 7 February 1903 to 18 April 1903 and then at the New Theatre, London, from 20 April 1903 to 20 June 1903. Forbes-Robertson subsequently organized a tour of the United Kingdom of The Light That Failed with a different cast, headed by Sydney Brough and Beatrice Forbes-Robertson. Johnston Forbes-Robertson afterwards took the play to the United States, opening at the Knickerbocker Theatre, New York on 9 November 1903. Of the original London cast, he was accompanied by C. Aubrey Smith, Leon Quartermaine and Gertrude Elliott; Sydney Valentine’s old part of J.G. Fordham (‘Nilghai’) was played by George Sumner.

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A ‘quite inadequate’ one act adaptation by Courtenay Thorpe of Kipling’s well known work was previously presented as a curtain-raiser at the Royalty Theatre, London, on 7 April 1898. Thorpe himself headed the cast, supported by Frank Atherley, Ruth Mackay and Furtado Clarke. The Stage (London, Thursday, 14 April 1898, p. 15b) described Miss Mackay as ‘a lady of handsome appearance and good voice, who may be recommended a close study of Cockney pronunciation if she wishes to make her present work more successful.’


A.E. Matthews and Irene Vanburgh in Alice Sit-by-the-Fire

December 26, 2012

This real photograph postcard, no. 588 H, published in 1905 in London by J. Beagles & Co, features a scene from J.M. Barrie’s play, Alice Sit-by-the-Fire: A Page from a Daughter’s Diary, with A.E. Matthews as Cosmo Grey and Irene Vanbrugh as Amy Grey, which was produced at the Duke of York’s Theatre, London, on 5 April 1905. (photo: Alfred Ellis & Walery, London, 1905)

‘London, April 8 [1905]. ‘Barrie’s new play, produced at the Duke of York’s last Wednesday, drew a most distinguished audience, which included many prominent and respected American citizens. The play was called by another of Barrie’s peculiar titles – namely, Alice, Sit by the Fire. This time the title was the least inappropriate that the brilliant little native of Thrums has yet vouchsafed. Alice is a middle-aged, but still merry and charming mother, who until the play opens has had to live in India with her colonel-husband, and to send all her babies, one by one, home to England to be reared. The family thus brought up thousands of miles away from her includes a daughter just on the verge of young womanhood; a son, some years younger, but fancying himself too much a man to suffer any kind of parental care, and a baby who is only old enough, when seeing a friendly hand, to “wrestle with it,” as the Luck of Roaring Camp did in dear old Bret Harte’s memorable and lovable story.

‘When Momma Alice arrives in England with her martial but sympathetic husband, she is staggered to find that her gown-up “chicks” regard her with mixed feelings. They have never seen her since they could “take notice,” as fond mammas say. The son shuns her, because of her demonstrative affection to him “before people.” The growing daughter, with her silly head full of five consecutive nights play going, and seeing her mother display some feeling and affection to a young Anglo-Indian male friend of her husband, jumps to the conclusion that the said mother is “in the power” of this young man, as wives so often are in modern plays.

‘The girl, therefore, egged on by a girl friend, who is even more sentimentally silly, goes alone to the young man’s rooms in order to demand the return of the “incriminating letters” which she feels sure her mother must have written “as they always do in plays.” The daughter’s secret visit, of course, involves herself in the supposed mystery. The mother arriving at the “man’s rooms,” presently with her husband detects that her daughter is hiding in a cupboard, and adopts all sort of subterfuges in order to smuggle the girl away before her father is driven to the supposition that his daughter is keeping an “assignation” with the male friend.

‘Confusion becomes still worse confounded before the quaint mystery is cleared up and the curtain finally falls on Mommer Alice resolving to give up all globe-trotting and giddiness and to sit by the fire at home for evermore.

‘The one fault in this otherwise charming and delightful play – at least on the first night – was that Barrie has put in too much dialogue, bright and crisp as that dialogue was. Ellen Terry, whose performance of the perplexed mother was too perfect for words, had such a lot to say after the play had virtually finished that an anticlimax set in. But the piece is (as it deserves to be) a great success. In addition to Ellen Terry’s glorious performance, splendid acting was put in by Irene Vanbrugh as the foolish daughter and Aubrey Smith as the common sense husband.’ (Gawain, The New York Dramatic Mirror, New York, Saturday, 22 April 1905, p.7a/b)