History

The Redhead who Electrified the Australian Stage

Australia has a controversial redhead as its leader. Just on a century ago it was a redhead on stage, with a famous wicked wink, who set tongues wagging. Leann Richards reports on the scandalous life and times of Daisy Jerome.

In 1913 fashions and attitudes were changing quickly. Early that year suffragettes marched in the US and later the shocking Argentine tango was introduced to western society. It reached Australia in late 1913 and almost simultaneously, a young music hall artist called Daisy Jerome arrived in the country.

Voluptuous Songbird Forced to Ration Sweeties and Ditch Husbands.

At the beginning of the twentieth century Celia Ghiloni was a star in the JC Williamson Company, touring musical comedy and Gilbert and Sullivan across Australia and New Zealand. But jibes over her weight led to some serious belt tightening, as Leann Richards reports.

Born Rosabelle Ethel Celia Ghiloni in Victoria in 1879, the daughter of an Italian immigrant from Tuscany, she was known throughout her life as Celia.

She grew up in Western Australia and at 16 began singing in public at recitals.

How Christchurch’s Turn of the Century Child Protégés Conquered the Stage World.

Decades before Shirley Temple, Australasia had its own young starlets. The Beatty sisters, Maud and May, were two of our most famous exports during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Leann Richards reports.

The Comedian who became a War Hero.

When faced with mortal danger in World War 1, a showman did what came naturally – he cracked a joke.

Leann Richards looks back at the life of Tom Dawson.

In the early 1900s, Harry Rickards’ Tivoli Circuit featured a small number of regulars. They were an expected and much loved attraction of any Tivoli show. One of them was Welsh born comedian Tom Dawson.

Born Tom Besley in Wales in 1874, his first job was as a child labourer in mines and factories, before his family moved to Australia.  

The Lost Art of Painting A Scene

In the 19th century scenic designers were talented artists who quickly produced temporary masterpieces for their managers. It was a laborious process involving precise brushwork and intense concentration.

One of the most famous and esteemed scenic designers of the time was George Gordon, who created many and varied scenes for Australian audiences through his 15 year tenure. They ranged from common English indoor parlours to exotic locales and climes.

Before The Fringe

Australian experimental theatre in the 60s was stripped bare. by Clem Gorman.

Before there was a Fringe, hovering on the edges of the established theatre, in Sydney there was a bold, sometimes naive, but always exciting strand of live performance, running its own race outside the Establishment, called Experimental Theatre.

How Ambition Ruined Early Aussie Champion of Local Talent

Bendigo-born William Anderson produced melodramas with Australian themes, authentic local settings and local talent, but gambling, on horses and grand schemes, eventually proved his undoing. Leann Richards re-introduces the charismatic showman, once mentioned in the same breath as J.C. Williamson.

In the early 20th century most Australian theatrical entrepreneurs were foreign born. There was one exception, William Anderson. For over thirty years Anderson dominated Australian melodrama and actively supported native writers, actors and producers.

What broke the heart of the World’s Greatest Juggler?

Juggler Paul Cinquevalli made four visits to Australia between 1899 and 1914. He was a skilled showman who perfected the art of juggling to a degree seldom seen. One of his favourite places became Australia until fate intervened. Cinquevalli was Polish and started his performing life as a trapeze artist. However a bad accident transformed the mediocre acrobat into the world’s greatest juggler. Cinquevalli called it ‘the fluke of my life’.

Wife Accuses Stage Hero of Sleeping with all the Damsels: Read All About It!

Leann Richards reports on how the whiff of backstage shenanigan’s made the front page in 1901, when actors used their skills in a courtroom drama of love and jealousy.

Toni Lamond - Lady in Lights

Neil Litchfield interviewed Toni Lamond for Stage Whispers about her astonishing career shortly after the announcement of her Green Room Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. “A large part of my early career was based in Melbourne, in vaudeville, and the Tivoli, with the Tivoli being the top of the tree. I wanted to be on the Tivoli, and I wanted to be on Broadway. That, to me, was Nirvana. I got to the top of the Tivoli, and I thought, ‘Gosh, I’ve done it, here I am at age 20, and I’m top of the tree.’