Posts Tagged ‘Theatre Royal (Hanley)’


Lily Elsie as Princess Soo Soo in A Chinese Honeymoon, April 1903

March 5, 2015

Lily Elsie (1886-1962), English musical comedy star, as she appeared as Princess Soo Soo in the musical comedy A Chinese Honeymoon. a part initially played by Violet Dene on tour when the piece was first produced at the Theatre Royal, Hanley, on 16 October 1899, and by Beatrice Edwards when the production opened in London at the Strand Theatre on 5 October 1901. Miss Edwards was succeeded (circa March 1902) by Kate Cutler and then (October 1902) by Mabel Nelson who in turn was succeeded by Lily Elsie when the latter took up the part of Soo Soo on Monday, 20 April 1903.
(photo: R.W. Thomas, Cheapside, London, 1903; colour halftone postcard no. 114 in C. Modena & Co’s ‘Ducal’ series, published London, 1903)


Gertrude Briscoe

May 16, 2013

Gertrude Briscoe (fl. 1890s), English musical comedy and pantomime dancer and small part player
(photo: Powls & May, Birmingham and Bordesley, mid 1890s)

Gertrude Briscoe appeared as a dancer and small part player in various musical comedies and pantomimes, at least once in London (in the Drury Lane pantomime, Aladdin, Christmas 1896), but mostly on tour.

Theatre Royal, Hanley
‘Mr George Edwardes’s No. 1 company has been drawing big houses here this week with A Gaiety Girl. In the title-rôle, not by any means an exacting part, Miss Miriam Clements acts well, and makes a charming figure … ‘The three Gaiety Girls are notable figures as given by Miss Evelyn Murton, Miss Gertrude Briscoe, and Miss Rosina Hillyer …’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 5 May 1894, p. 18d)

Theatre and Opera House, Cheltenham
Morocco Bound was played here on Monday evening. The burden of the work falls to the share of Messrs. G.T. Minshull and Willie Drew, who as Spoofah Bey and Squire Higgins act with abundant humour. Miss Eva Levens has won enthusiastic applause for her spirited acting and charming dancing as Ethel Sportington; Miss May Roy has been most successful as the Countess; Miss Flo Morrison sings prettily as Ethel; and Miss Gertrude Briscoe has scored with an eccentric dance. All the other parts are excellently acted.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 1 December 1894, p. 19e)

‘A New Musical Duologue, Written by Harold Cheverelles, Music by Jennie Frankin, Produced at St. George’s Hall at a Matinee on Friday, Dec. 6th.
‘Svengali … Miss Jennie Franklin
‘Trilby … Mr Harold Cheverelles
‘This proved to be a very feeble skit on the ”Trilby” theme, and was amateurish and wearisome in the extreme … ‘Miss Gertrude Briscoe gained applause with a graceful Spanish dance.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 7 December 1895, p. 11c)


A Chinese Honeymoon, 2nd Anniversary Souvenir, 5 October 1903

January 22, 2013

cover of A Chinese Honeymoon souvenir,
distributed at the Strand Theatre, London, 5 October 1903
(from original artwork by ‘Kin’,
published for the Strand Theatre by The Stage Souvenir Co, London,
printed by David Allen & Sons Ltd, London and Belfast, 1903)

This attractive souvenir of the long-running musical comedy by George Dance, with music by Howard Talbot, which began its career at the Theatre Royal, Hanley, on 16 October 1899, contains photographs of and text by the leading personalities of the piece (including Picton Roxborough) on the occasion of its second anniversary at the Strand Theatre, London, where it had opened on 5 October 1901. A Chinese Honeymoon eventually closed there after 1,075 performances on 23 May 1904.

George Dance

George Dance (1858-1932), English dramatist and theatrical manager
(photo: Lizzie Caswall Smith, London, 1903

May honestly claim to be the most successful of all musical comedies. Originally produced by Mr. George Dance’s Company on October 16th, 1899, at the Theatre Royal, Hanley, it at once leaped into pubic favour. Two companies were sent immediately on the road, and it was while paying a visit to the Theatre Royal, Darlington, the following year that Mr. Frank Curzon first saw it. He determined to bring it to London, and he produced it eventually at this theatre on October 5th, 1901. Since that date it has been played here without a break, and this evening it registers its second anniversary.
In addition to the Strand production, A Chinese Honeymoon is being represented to-night by five different companies in the British provinces, under the direction of Mr. George Dance.
Messrs. Shubert ‘presented’ it at the Casino Theatre, New York, on June 2nd, 1901, where it met with an enthusiastic reception, and 500 consecutive performances were given – hereby establishing a record for musical plays in New York. It is now being played by four ‘road’ companies in the United States and Canada, under the management of the Messrs. Shubert.
It was produced by Mr. George Musgrove at the Princess’s Theatre, Melbourne, on June 30th, 1902, with equal success; and ran into 165 performances – a record for the Antipodes. Mr. Musgrove’s Company is now touring it in Australia and New Zealand [and Tasmania].
One February 14th, 1901, Mr. George Walton produced it at the Theatre Royal, Capetown, with its customary success (a success that was continued throughout South Africa) and a second tour is now being organized to open in Capetown in a few months’ time.
A German version was given at the Central Theater, Hamburg, by Mr. C.M. Roehr on February 12th, 1903, whtn the universal verdict was repeated. It is now included in the répertoire of the principal theatres throughout Germany, Austria and Hungary.
Mr. Maurice E. Bandmann is at the present time taking it on a third tour through the English-speaking cities situated round the Mediterranean.
Arrangements are already conducted for its presentation to the Parisian public. And it would seen that with this last invasion it had no other worlds left to conquer; but this is not so, for a series of unauthorized performances were given last year in China itself.
R. Byron Webber, Business Manager. Strand Theatre, Oct. 5th, 1903.