Viola Tree was the oldest of the three daughters of Helen Maud Holt and Herbert Beerbohm Tree; she joined Tree's troupe where in 1904 she made her London debut in the major role of Viola in Twelfth Night. In 1906 she played Perdita in The Winter's Tale; she was fortunate to have in that production the great actress Ellen Terry playing Hermione.
Viola was also a talented singer, good enough for the operatic stage, a career she pursued for several years. She went back to the theatre around 1914 and played a number of different kinds of parts and was on the stage the rest of her life; her last performance was in 1937, just a year before her death in 1938.
Over the years she played a number of Shakespeare's heroines, including Ophelia and Desdemona. Her last part in a Shakespeare play was as Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream. in 1923. She also played in four films between 1920 and 1938.
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