tel: 01264 337 205
fax: 01264 350 823
Freda Chapple is the Programme Director of the Literature and Creative Media programme and the Director of Regional and External Activities at the Institute for Lifelong Learning, University of Sheffield.
She is co-convener of the Intermediality in Theatre and Performance Research working group of the International Federation for Theatre research and in May 2008 she was the Guest Editor of a special edition on Intermediality for the journal Culture, Language and Representation.
Her particular research interests are the impact of digital technology on British Theatre practice and learning and the relationship of theatre to other media. Her most recent publications are: Chapple, F. (2008) 'The Intermedial Theatron: a paradigm shift in education and performance in the public sphere' in Schoenmakers, Henri; Kirchmann, Kay; Ruchatz, Jens; Bläske, Stefan Theater und Medien. Bielefeld. Chapple, F. (2007) 'Adaptation as Education: A Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District' in Adaptation in Film and Performance Intellect Books pp 17-32; Chapple, F. (2007) 'Exploring the Gap: Intercultural Learning in Literature and the Arts in Lifelong Learning' in Culture, Language and Representation, Vol 4, pp 49-66.
65 Kingsley Avenue
London W13 0EH
21 Rope Walk
Somerset TA21 9RB
Shakespeare and his contemporaries
Late 18th and early 19thC theatre
24 Glanafon Street
tel: 01482 465309
fax: 01482 465641
020 8986 2648
57 Roker Street
tel: +64 (0)3 942 1192
1. BARNES THEATRE, LONDON S.W., 1925/26
The building in Church Road, London SW13, which has housed the Olympic Sound Studios since the early 1960s, was built in 1906 as the Byfeld Hall on the site of the gardens of the former Byfield House. Originally intended to be available for meetings, lectures, concerts, amateur theatricals, receptions, etc., the hall early became a venue for cine-variety under various names, including the Barnes Picture House. Perhaps the highest point in its history came when Philip Ridgeway renamed it the BARNES THEATRE, during 1925 and 1926, presenting a range of plays, still remembered for a notable production of Hardy's own adaptation of Tess of the D?Urbevilles, starring the young Gwen Ffrangcon-Davie s, who scored a great personal success and Îwatershed? productions of Chekhov plays directed by Theodore Komisarjevsky, whose casts included such established actors as Jeanne de Casalis, Ernest Milton, Martita Hunt and Arthur Wontner, as well as the emerging talents of the 22-year old John Gielgud, Jean Forbes-Robertson and 19-year old Robert Newton amongst others; and the professional debut of Charles Laughton in Gogol's The Government Inspector with Claude Rains. Later the building was used mainly as a cinema, under the names Barnes Cinema Theatre (1928), the Ranelagh (1930/40), the Plaza (1942/51) and the New Vandyke (1952/53).
I am currently completing a book on this subject for the Barnes & Mortlake History Society. Although the work is fairly far advanced, I am still seeking information, of any kind, connected with the building and what went on there. I am including, to some extent, an account of the site's earlier history and the uses of the hall before and after the "Barnes Theatre" seasons.
I am still looking for :
Having searched all likely sources, it would appear that no plans survive of the building prior to The complete gutting of the interior, for the Olympic Sound Studios, c. 1988. It is just possible that something may have been published, in the architectural press c.1906, but I have yet to complete a trawl of this source.
There are very few pictures of the building at any period and I have yet to see one of it during its period as the Barnes Theatre.
I have consulted the major public collections and many private ones. None has a complete run of programmes for the Barnes Theatre. I am anxious to have sight of several not already seen and would like to purchase copies of number which I do not have in my own collection. During Ridgeway's company's summer breaks in both 1925 and 1926, the theatre was sub-let to various visiting Companies and would particularly like to find programmes for Mirandolina (at Barnes or the Everyman Th., 1925) and, in 1926, the Henry Bayntun Shakespeare Company (at Barnes, or elsewhere at around that date) and for Fred Wildon's Herne Bay Players (a seaside concert party, at Barnes prior to their season at Herne Bay). I would also like to find programmes for the sixteen week provincial tour of Ridgeway's production of Tess of the D'Urbevilles, in 1926.
(iv) CORRESPONDENCE & OFFICE RECORDS
Anything under this heading relating to Barnes Theatre.
I would be very grateful for any help received in tracing any of the above listed items.
2. LIFE AND WORK OF WALTER PFEFFER DANDO, 1852-1944
Mechanical Engineer, Secret Springer, Stage Machinist, Stage Mechanician & Architect, Stage Manager, Regisseur, India-rubber Merchant, India Rubber Spring & Chest Expander Manufacturer, Photographer, Film-maker, Author, Lecturer, Musician, Bulldog Breeder & Exhibitor and "Compulsive Patentee".
A long term research project (possibly life-long!) but I hope to have a complete enough picture to be able to publish a monograph, if not a complete biography, before I die!
If Walter Dando is remembered at all today, it is probably merely because the vestiges of the stage machinery he installed for D'Oyly Carte at his Royal English Opera House remain in what is now the Palace Theatre, London.
Though primarily a stage machinist of considerable experience and inventiveness, Dando had other strings to his bow. He was a very capable photographer, particularly of animals, an amateur musician and had many other interests. He patented many of his inventions, most of which were "improvements" of existing mechanisms.
His first marriage was to Letitia Barry, a dancer specialising in flying ballet and professionally known as Mlle. Aenea, for whom he devised and operated the flying machinery. Following her death he married another dancer, Daisy Paver, formerly of the Empire Theatre, Leicester Square.
I have compiled an illustrated Chronology of the details of Dando's life & work so far known to me. As yet this is not available digitally. But I will send a printed copy to anyone interested on receipt of a C5, stamped addressed envelope.
3. Number One Six Seven, Drury Lane,
THE MIDDLESEX MUSIC HALL, 1851-1909
"The Old Mo" - Great Mogul, Mogul Saloon, Turkish Saloon, Mogul Tavern, Mogul Music Hall,
Middlesex Music Hall, [New] Middlesex Theatre of Varieties, Winter Garden Theatre and New London Theatre. There has been a place of entertainment on this site since Elizabethan times. The name of Nell Gwynn, who lived nearby, has been associated with the tavern, which, by the end of the 17th century was known as the Great Mogul. Early in the following century glee clubs met and sing-songs were held in the adjoining hall. In 1847 the Mogul Saloon was built. Between that date and 1851, it was occasionally known as the Turkish Saloon or the Mogul Music Hall. In 1851, under the management of Edwin Winder, it was renamed the Middlesex Music Hall and underwent some re-construction in 1872 and again in 1892, the stage having been enlarged in 1880. By 1909, with new safety regulations, the building was no longer a viable proposition, J.L. Graydon's long reign as Proprietor came to an end and it was replaced by a completely new building, in 1911, Frank Matcham's New Middlesex Theatre of Varieties. In 1919, having been for a while under the control of Oswald Stoll, this building was re-named the Winter Garden Theatre and, with the interior completely re-decorated, re-opened under the management of George Grossmith and Edward Laurillard. In 1959 the theatre was sold by the Rank Organisation to a property development company and was demolished 1965. A complex incorporating a theatre, restaurant, shops, showrooms, flats and a car park was erected and the New London Theatre opened early in 1973.
Another long-term project but I hope to have a publishable history of "The Old Mo" (1851-1909) available in due course. [the local history society in Camden and Camden library services have shown an interest in such a project]
attempting to list all known illustrations of building, 1851-1909 (are there any early pics. of the [Old] Mogul [Îs Head] Tavern?)
I have, so far, listed some 2500 artists & acts known to have appeared at the MMH, approx. 1860-1909 - however this but the "tip of the iceberg".
THE STAFFORD FAMILY
The sisters Ada, Florence and Pauline Stafford, were serpentine dancers, professionally known as La Pia, De Dio and Mlle. Naero. Their brothers included Harry Stafford (comedian) and Ernest Stafford (electrician and projectionist). De Dio married Percy Boggis, a maestro of electrical effects. Boggis had worked as one of a team of electricians touring with Loie Fuller. With this experience added, no doubt, to his own ingenuity, he masterminded the technical aspects of the sisters' individual acts (he was later a pioneer in the use of UV lighting for stage effects). La Pia appeared in the Royal Command Music Hall Performance, at the Palace Theatre, London, in 1912, with her Spirit of the Wave s and Fire Dance.
I have also been researching the special effects and costumes used by Loie Fuller and the many "copycat" acts that followed (amongst the best of whom were the Stafford sisters) in particular by studying a number of Patents some of them applied for. I am also interested in the early use of cinematograph for stage effects, particularly by such variety artists as these.
Further information about any of the above mentioned artists and technicians welcomed.
5. THE RUDGE SISTERS
The Rudge sisters, professionally known as Letty Lind (1861-1923), Millie Hylton (1870-1920), Adelaide Astor (1873-1951), Lydia Flopp (1877-1963) and Fanny Dango (1878-1972), all hailing from Birmingham, were primarily dancers but later developed their singing talents, working in pantomime, musical comedy and burlesque, often at the Gaiety Theatre in the 1880s and 90s. Letty Lind was in the last George Edwardes burlesques (at the Gaiety) and the first George Edwardes musical comedies (at Daly's); she also had a professional and personal relationship with the dramatic author and entertainer Howard Paul (1830-1905) and was the mother of his illegitimate son. Earlier, at the age of about 16, she had borne a daughter, also Letty (father unknown), who died soon after birth and she later had another son, John R.H. Rudge (b.1892), whose father was acknowledged to be the third Earl of Durham. Millie Hylton eventually made a career in variety as a male impersonator and was the mother of actress Millie Sim (b.1895), she might or might not have been married at one time to the agent, Hugh J. Didcott. Adelaide Astor was married to George Grossmith, Jnr. and had a son, George Grossmith (manager) and a daughter, Ena Grossmith (b.1896, actress). Whilst touring Australia Fanny Dango made an astute property purchase, married a wealthy sheep farmer, and settled there. The Rudge sisters were cousins of music hall artist, Millie Lindon (b.1877) who was married at one time to T.E. Dunville (1868-1924), however they divorced long before his sad and dramatic death, she later re-married.
More information now available.
But many gaps yet to be filled.
6. THE ROYAL COMMAND MUSIC HALL PERFORMANCE,
Palace Theatre, London. July 1st, 1912
During the last five or six years I have been attempting an in-depth study of this subject.
Its significance, occurring at that moment in the history of popular entertainment.
How the Performance came about (and why?).
How it was put together.
Liaison with Buckingham Palace and Sir William Carington, Keeper of the Privy Purse.
The roles of Alfred Butt, George Ashton, Wal Pink and others.
The inclusions - the omissions.
Rivalry, jealousy, etc. amongst artists (and managements)
The treatment of individual acts.
The management, control and welfare of some 150 individual artists (each a top-liner in his/her own right) who took part in the finale tableaux
The technical aspects, staging, decoration of the theatre, the musical arrangements.
The printing, special tickets, programmes, souvenirs.
What to be believe in the printed programme (all was not/?is never what it might seem).
What is to be believe in the contemporary press reports and subsequent writings.
Attitudes to advertising.
Who really said what, the King, Oswald Stoll, Marie Lloyd, Albert Chevalier, etc. etc.
The correction of a multitude of myths that have been perpetuated about this Performance
etc., etc., etc., etc,
I have spent four days in the Royal Archives at Windsor Castle, countless hours at the Newspaper Library, the Theatre Museum and the Mander & Mitchenson Collection. I have also had extensive of correspondence with numerous other music hall historians.
As a result, so far I have given four illustrated talks on aspects of the subject, to the British Music Hall Society Study Group, each lasting an hour, sometimes more, but have merely scratched the surface.
N.B. I have listed 1500 artists & acts at Palace Theatre of Varieties, 1892-1914 - this list is not exhaustive.
7. THE DUKE OF YORK'S THEATRE
(Trafalgar Square Theatre, 1892)
Dormant project, but had intended a book. (back in 1972)
I hold an extensive collection programmes, music fronts, "modern" posters, postcards, other ephemera and information concerning this theatre to 1980.
I contributed much inf. & some illustrations to Geoffrey Ashton's souvenir for the gala re-opening In 1980.
Typescripts of late 19thC Plays
ADELPHI and VAUDEVILLE THEATRES, LONDON
Originally in Cruickshank collection but now in the V&A: 28 bound typescripts of plays produced at the Adelphi and Vaudeville Theatres between 1887 and 1901, during the proprietorship and/or management of A. & S. Gatti.
Research Interests Index
9th September 2011