Nina de Silva

(1868-1949) Born Angelita Helena Margarita de Silva Ferro, Nina de Silva was known by the stage-name N. de Silva. Her first stage appearance was as a page in Sir Henry Irving‘s 1882 production of Much Ado About Nothing. She married Sir Martin Harvey and played in his company when he was based at the Lyceum in London in 1899. De Silva played in Hamlet as Ophelia, Richard III as Lady Anne, The Taming of the Shrew as Katerina, and inRead more

Annie Russell

(1864-1936) Annie Russell began her career as a child and toured all over South and North America. Illness forced her retirement for a time, but she returned to the stage when she was thirty and first played in London in 1898. Although she had played some Shakespeare earlier in her career, in 1912 she formed the Old English Comedy Troupe and after that presented several Shakespeare comedies such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream (shown here). She retired in 1918.Read more

Frederick Ross

Frederick Ross began his career as a medical student, but he was lured by the stage and made his first professional appearance in 1898. His first part in Shakespeare came in 1907 when he played Friar Laurence in Matheson Lang‘s production of Romeo & Juliet. The next year he played the ghost in Hamlet, and in 1909 Lord Hastings in Richard III. Five years later in 1914 he played Sir Richard Vernon in Henry IV at His Majesty’s Theatre. After a briefRead more

Mary Rorke

(1858-1938) In a career that spanned sixty-five years and scores of parts as well as fourteen films, Mary Rorke was one of the sturdy mainstays of the London theater. She made her debut in 1873 and played her first Shakespeare part, Phoebe in As You Like It, the next year in 1874. Her roles in Shakespeare where intermittent; she next played Elizabeth of York with Richard Mansfield in Richard III in 1889. In 1896, having joined Sir Henry Irving‘s company,Read more

Irene Rooke

(1878-1958) Irene Rooke first appeared on stage in 1895; after she joined Ben Greet’s company she had the opportunity to play a number of roles in Shakespeare: Viola, Ophelia, Perdita, Miranda, Desdemona, Hero, and Rosalind. She played in London for the first time in 1897 as Ophelia opposite Edward Gordon Craig’s Hamlet at the Olympic Theatre. Rooke did not return to Shakespeare until 1910 when she played Viola for Miss Horniman at Manchester’s Gaiety Theatre; she played Viola again inRead more

George Relph

(1888-1960) Few now know his name, but George Relph’s career spanned over half a century and among his many stage appearances, twenty of them were in Shakespeare’s plays in some of the best theaters in London and Australia. His first role as a professional was a minor one in Othello; his first London appearance in 1909 was at the Lyceum as Marcellus in Hamlet. That same year he joined Oscar Asche and Lily Brayton on their Australian tour and thereRead more

Phyllis Relph

(1888-?) Phyllis Relph’s quite young stage debut was in Bootles’ Baby when she was just one and a half. Bootles’ Baby (1885) was a play by Henrietta Stannard who used the nom-de-plume John Strange Winter. One of her first parts in Shakespeare came in 1908 when, with Miss Darragh, she played in Antony & Cleopatra at the Queen’s Theatre, Manchester. At the Savoy Theatre, London, in 1912 she played Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Viola in Twelfth Night. A particularly busyRead more