A History of Playbills and (depending on which spelling you prefer) Theatre Programs, Theater Programs or Theatre Programmes ‘Playbill’ and ‘program’ (or, in Britain, ‘programme’) are commonly accepted today as being the same thing. However, the origins of the two words are somewhat different.
Developments before the Golden Age of Theatre Postcards – 1840-1901 The world’s first adhesive postage stamp, the Penny Black, was issued in Great Britain in 1840. (Before that, it was the recipient and not the sender who paid for delivery.) As a proof of payment and to prevent illegal reuse of the postage stamp, a [...]
THE GOLDEN AGE OF THEATRE (1880-1920) Gabrielle Ray was born Gabrielle Elizabeth Clifford Cook on April 28, 1883, in Stockport, Cheshire (UK). She grew up to be a much admired and frequently photographed musical comedy star who, at the height of her fame, was described by the Paris Temps as being ‘the most beautiful woman [...]
THE GOLDEN AGE OF THEATRE (1880-1920) Daisy (Violet Rose) Wood was born in the East End of London on September 15, 1877 – the fifth of nine children. Her father, John Wood, made artificial flowers and, in the evenings, worked as a waiter in the Royal Eagle Tavern. Her mother, Matilda Mary Caroline, was a [...]
THE GOLDEN AGE OF THEATRE (1880-1920) E(dward) S(mith) Willard was born in Brighton (GB). As a mature actor, he had an intense but controlled style of acting that, contrasting so obviously with the histrionic proclamations that were the norm at the end of the Nineteenth Century, had an immense – although now all but forgotten [...]
THE GOLDEN AGE OF THEATRE (1880-1920) Winifred Emery was born in Manchester. Hers was a theatrical family – her father, grandfather and great-grandfather had all been eminent actors. She made her first stage appearance in 1870, at the age of eight. In 1881, she became a member of Henry Irving’s company. She toured the United [...]
THE GOLDEN AGE OF THEATRE (1880-1920) Cyril Maude was born in London on April 24, 1862. His long and distinguished career as actor and theatre manager continued for some seventy years. He and Winifred Emery, whom he married, were amongst the highest regarded English stage personalities during much of the Golden Age. Although she trained [...]
THE GOLDEN AGE OF THEATRE (1880-1920) Charles Courtice Pounds was born in Pimlico, London on May 30, 1862. When he was eight, he joined the choir at St. Stephen’s Church, Kensington. He then sang in the choir of the Italian Church, Hatton Garden, before studying at the Royal Academy of Music. He joined the D’Oyly [...]