British Columbia History

BC Historical News Apr 30, 1970

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APRIL, 1970
--.-'-'-''• '*:'   -""'"■,     '""«„,"-   -
Vol. 3 No. 3 April 1970
Published November, February, April and June each year
by the British Columbia Historical Association. Subscription
rates: Free to members of all affiliated societies, or $3*50 per
year, including postage, directly from the Editor, Mr P. A. Yandle,
3450 West 20th Avenue, Vancouver 8, B.C.
Hon. Patron: Lieut.Gov. J.R. Nicholson
Hon. President: Dr Margaret Ormsby
President: Mrs Mabel Jordon
1st Vice-President: Mr H.R, Brammall
2nd Vice-President: Mr B.C. Bracewell
Sec. & Editor: Mr P. A. Yandle
Treasurer: Mrs H.R. Brammall
Executive Mr H.B. Nash
Committee: Mr D. Schon
Editorial 2
Society Notes and Comments 3
"Colonial Dress" - 4
"Funny Scene" 5
Legitimate Theatre in Early
i&isrtoria, by CC. Elliott 6
Convention Programme : Inside back cover
Registration Form   : (removable)
FRONT COVER The picture of the train is one in a series of early
Vancouver lithographed from sketches drawn by Robert Genn, a member
of the Vancouver Historical Society. Any guesses as to which train
it is? Answer will be given in the next issue. CONVENTION
. On
. Impressive
There is not the slightest doubt that spring is definitely
here. Driving down the backlanes (one of my favourite outlets
from boredom) I am aware that that spectre of my youth has again
shown its annual appearance - Spring Cleaning. What a time of
turmoil that used to be, as nothing within the four walls of our
home escaped the eagle eye of the mad army of females intent on
absolute p urification. If my memory serves me right its duration
lasted about a month, and although I loved and welcomed spring,
that month seemed like eternity. The whole world seemed to have
gone mad. Nothing was sacred. My abdominal tract suffered such
indignities, during that time, that the thought of any symptoms of
sickness or malingering was quickly banished from my mind. The
thought of another dose of senna, tea brought the most miraculous
cures, enough to astound the medical profession. I need only
close my  eyes and think of that vile witches' brew, to feel the
awful sense of revulsion as I was made to swallow it. This
atmosphere brought about a rebirth of dedication to live a better
life, than all the false pledges of New Years' resolutions, and
mid-May was the peak period of my ardour. Of course by July I
found myself on- a nice gentle down-grade bringing despair to .all
adults as to what kind of monster lurked inside me. Well, what has
all this to do with the B.C. Historical Association, and in particular with the News. Just that May is Convention time, and once
again I will have reached the peak of my dedication. It is also a
silent prayer that maybe some of our members will be going through
a similar phase, and will arrive at Nanaimo with a full head of
steam ready to "give her Hell". SOCIETY NOTES AND COMMENTS
.NANAIMO At the February meeting Miss E. B. Norcross gavee an
address on early days in the Cowichan Valley where settlement
started in 1862. Miss Norcross quoted extensively from diaries
of the Marriner family and also used information given her by an
old Indian couple.
Dr J. P. Tully, now retired from the Biological Station,
spoke at the annual meeting in March-
New officers for the Society are Pres. Mr R. C. Edwards,
Vice.Pres. Mrs J. N. Kneen, Sec. Miss E. B. Norcross, Treas. Mrs
F. McGirr.
VANCOUVER Miss Patricia Roy, a member of the society, gave a talk
at the February meeting, immediately following her Ph.D. oral
examination at U.B.C., on the Street Railwaymen's strikes in
Vancouver, 1917-1919-
In March Mr Arthur Peacey told the society about Vancouver
as an Insurance Centre, demonstrating what private initiative,
spurred by a devastating fire, can do. .
The annual Vancouver Incorporation Day Dinner was held in
the Holiday Inn on April 6th, 1970. The guest speaker was Mr Harold
Kalman of the U.B.C. Fine Arts Dept, who showed some slides of
buildings in the historical Gastown area of Vancouver. On display
in the banquet room were paintings of Vancouver, including a number
by Robert Genn (who designs the covers for B.C. Historical News),
and Raymond Chow.
New officers are Pres. Gordon Elliott, Past Pres. J.C.
Lawrence, Vice.Pres. Phil Yandle, Sec. Mrs K. Winterbottom,
Treas. Mrs G. Bowes, Membership Miss F. Woodward, Newsletter
Miss E, Walker, Publicity Miss J. Rowland, Social Convenor Mrs
J. Roff, Publications Mr J.C. Lawrence,
The following is an extract from a letter received from
the National Historic Sites Service, following a request for
information regarding the Federal Government's plans for Nootka.
It is now my intention to write and ask for the prepared development plan.
"February 17, 1970   We appreciate your concern and
we are able to provide you with the following information.
The Service has already prepared a provisional development
plan for Nootka which in basic terms deals with the erection of a
Visitor Interpretation Centre at the site. This building will
reflect the architectural style of Yuquot (Nootka) people. Within
this structure the planned exhibits will encompass the following
themes: prehistory, history and ethno-history of the Vancouver 4
Island area with special emphasis on the Yuquot (Nootka) culture.
The plan also take's in consideration the various required
facilities which make a visit to this area possible.
As far as reconstruction of various buildings, native or
European in origin, is concerned there are no provisions in the
plan, but the retention of the existing vil lage with its inhabitants will be encouraged, and will depend on the self-determination
of the people involved,.
Any forced encroachment on the way of life of the indigenous
people within the area for reconstruction purposes is not contemplated by the Service at the present time. As perhaps you are
quite aware a large percentage of the original buildings have
been, located within the site of the present village.
As far as the actual implementati<:  of this development
plan is concerned the commencement of the program is scheduled
within the Service's five-year plan, however, owing to the present
austerity the actual date of construction is not announced as yet.
Neveirtheless, continuous research program and engineering studies
are in progress,.,.,.„,„..  (Sgd) H.J. Mitchell, Acting Chief,
OperatinES Division, National Historic Sites Service."
The following is an extract from the diary of Edward Graham
Alston, written in 1859» his first year in Victoria, Alston
who had been called to the bar in 1857 came to i/Ictoria and
became Registrar General of the Colony- He is boat remembered
for his Handbook to British Columbia and Vancouver Island.
"Colonial Dress   Old colonists can be at once distinguished from
new, for while the former either dress regardless cf all style or
else in very bad, the latter come out resplendent in almost new
clothes ordered before departure, or seedy garments, relics of
better days, All have left their homes for some strong reason,
very few for the mere gratification of adventure. Some, because
impecuniosity made domestic life disagreeable, others in the hope
of retrieving a lost reputation, and a few in the honest purpose
of gaining a livelihood in a country possessing fewer obstacles
to advancement. They whc at home were reckless of expense will
not scruple to incur debts at their departure xdiich the intervening distance will render optional to discharge„ Hence an
abundance of clothes and a wardrobe of the latest fashion will
mark the first year or two of their colonial progress, This
stock will become small by degrees until a seedy gentility is all
that remains. So much for the men. Old colonists of the female
gender wear universally simple cotton dresses, but the crinoline
is not to be dispensed with. New comers create a sensation among
the old ones, and amongst the dressmakers, by silks and satins and
hoops of wondrous size, Tho respectable Americans almost to a
man wear suits of black," Vancouver has a dearth of newspapers at the present time,
and those who like the seamy side of court reporting might find
some humour in a police court account taken from the Colonist
of December 12, l86l. Could a breathalyser test have done justice?
"Funny Scene
Yesterday the Police Court was the arena in which was
played as funny a scene as we have witnessed for some time. One
James McAllister, a stoker on H.M.S. Topaze, was brought up on a
warrant charging him with maliciously kicking in the door of Mr
Selleck, at Esquimalt. The prisoner was rather the worse for
liquor. Mr Selleck proved the mischief, and also an assault made
by the accused on two squaws.
Mr Pemberton - What have you to say to the charge, McAllister?
Prisoner - (hitching up his trousers at the waist, and spitting
on the floor) - Veil, yer honor, as I vos a comin' along the
'Squimalt road yesterday, a little tight, I preceived two clootch-
vimmen a standin' outside of a 'ouse and they vos a laughin' at
me. So I haxes myself - Is 'eathens to be allowed to laugh at
Christians in this blasted country? Of a certainty not, says I,
and so I makes a rush for the 'eathens, and they runned into the
'ou.-:e for pertection and shut the door after 'em; but I kicked it
in, and I couped one of 'em, yer honor, vith my right 'and and I
wumbled another on 'em with my left, (laughter) and just then a
b—y bold bloak steps up, and sez he, "Jack, vot are ye a doin?" -
and I wumbled him too - blast his heyes,  (Uproarious laughter, in
which the x\rhole Court joined.)
Clerk - Order in Court.
Prisoner -- Horder yerself; I don't care a b—y bit for any o' ye;
ye think ye are somebody, me lad, vith that 'ere pen stuck in yer
fist, but if ye'11 just step outside and have a bit of a bout, if
I don't soon conwince ye that ye're nobody, my name's not Jem
McAllister, (Laughter)
Offjcer Blake - Here, you must stop this, or I'll take you into
Prisoner - (Doubling up his fists) - Come on, me boy; ye're Sb.out
a yard ahead o' me vith yer brass buttons and yer blue coat, but
'ere's for ye, if ye mean fight. (To the Court:) I didn't know
vot the vimmen vos or vot they vosn't - nor I didn't care vioh;
all I knowed vos as they vos a couple of sinful, well-dressed
'eathens a laughin' at a Christian - and I couldn't stand that, ye
know, no how.
After considerable difficulty and amid much laughter, the prisoner was quieted, and a fine of LI imposed on him for the mischief.
He was then taken into custody on a charge of being drunk and disorderly in Court, and removed to prison for one day, evoking as he
left the room the .choicest imprecations on the heads of the judge,
officers and spectators, and promising to "square the ring" with
'em on some future occasion." LEGITIMATE THEATRE IN EARLY VICTORIA1
by Dr Craig C, Elliott, Drama Dept., University of Calgary,
Victoria, Canada, was established as a Hudson's Bay fur
trading fort in 1843. On January 13, 1849, the Company was given
a grant to Vancouver's Island with the provision that it was to
settle a British colony on the Island within five years. It was
not until March 17, 1850, however, that the first emigrant ship,
the Norman Morrison, arrived with eighty passengers from Great
Britain to begin the colonization. Finally, in 1852, the town of
Victoria was laid out in streets and by 1854 the white population
had grown to 232 inhabitants. This slow growth continued until the
spring of I858 when gold was discovered on the Fraser River,
Immigrants were drawn to Victoria because of a decree by Governor
Douglas which stated that raining permits and licenses would not be
granted in towns other than Victoria. Amongst the thousands of
gold yush immigrants were the Humphrey Belasco and the Edward
Buckley families. The former were the' parents of David Belasco
and the latter the parents of Edward J. Buckley, both of whom
became noted theatrical personages in the late 19th century
American Theatre. Both boys attended the Colonial School and lived
in Victoria for five or six years.
Theatrical activities preceding the gold r/ush years were
infrequent and conducted by amateurs. The earliest record of an
amateur performance is in 1853 at an "on board" on a ship Man of
War Trineo.rmite.  Unfortunately, the record fails to mention the
nature of the entertainment. These amatBur "on boards" were a
popular form of entertainment until late in the century. An
original program from 1855 is indicative of the type  of performances
given at these entertainments:
Her Majesty's Ship President
October 25, 1855
"The Irish Lion", a farce in one act.
Comic Song: "Jake Rags", by C. Brian
Sentimental Song: "Give Me a Lot by the Side of a Mill"
"God Save the Queen"
"The Captain of the Watch", a farce in one act.
1. The word legitimate is used here in contrast to other pop ular
forms of entertainment such as Opera, Variety, Minstrel, Circus,
Magician, Spiritualists, Puppets, etc., all of which played an
important role in the history of Victoria's theatre.
2. Martha Ella Cheney, "Diary I853-I856" (unpublished M.S.,
Provincial Archives, Victoria, B.C.) The most unique of these "On Boards" was held on June 22, 1880,
on board the Japanese Battleship Taukuba. The ship's amateur
dramatic club performed in a series of Japanese dances and songs
and produced A Woman's Revenge and Chuchingura's The Forty Seven
By 1857 Victoria's population was large enough to support an
amateur dramatic society. The epilogue to their first production,
The Rivals, indicates that they had planned the organization to be
a lasting one but only one performance was given. According to the
original programme, the cast was all male; this suggests some
possible prejudice against ladies in amateur theatricals. The
play was staged on January 14, 1857. in the Fort mess hall.
■ My friends, our plays are ended for this year
Accept our thanks for your attendance here
(And most of all for that concluding cheer)
Which shows our stage has tended to amuse,
Our want of polish you'll, we trust, excuse
Because the plot was harder to unfold
When every actor had a special cold.
Which made our tongues unused to public speaking
Border at times on harmonious squeaking,
To expect perfection would indeed be cruel,
Primed with black draught or gorged with water gruel,
'Tis solely due to Doctors ^and to cough.
Our orchestra their accustomed vocal graces
Behind a screen have hid their modest faces.
Out go the lights, - for now 'tis growing late,
fey we all meet in I858,
Annual Amateur Theatricals
Vancouver's Island
. Wednesday, January 14, 1857
"The Rivals"
Richard Brinsley Sheridan
Dramatis Personnae
Sir Anthony Absolute , . Mr J.W. McKay
Captain Absolute ,..,..... Mr MacDonald
Acres . . . , ,  Mr Farquahar
Sir Lucius O'Triggar ....... Mr Pemberton
Fag .--.,... o ........ . Mr Barr
Thomas   Captain Swanson
Mrs Malaprop ,...:..-,; .... Mr Margary
Lydia Languish . , .Mr Newton
Lucy .Mr Govlidge
Prompter ... .Mr Leigh 8
The first professional, legitimate, company to play in Victoria
was the George Chapman Company. George Chapman was the son of
William Chapman who is noted, in American theatre history, as being
the producer of the first floating theatre. This unique theatre
plied the waters of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers between 1830 and
1840. During this interval George married Marji Park, a widow and
member of the company. When the elder Chapman died in 1840 George
organized the members of his own family into a theatrical troupe and
ventured westward. It was their custom to stay in town until they
tired of it, or the town of them, and then move on. In 1851, they
Arrived in San Francisco, which became their base; from it they
brought plays, for the first time, to many of the new mining regions
of California, Washington, Oregon and British Columbia.
In Victoria the Company opened on March 5» l859» with The
Young Widow and the Limerick Boy, together with specialty acts,  :>n
an improvised stage in the Assembly Building. They played there
for two weeks and then left for the Washington territories on
March JO, 1859. Little is known of their nightly performances,, as
advertising was done through the use of handbills. Undoubtedly
they were similar to the single production advertised in the
Victoria Gazette on March 5» 1859:
Assembly Building Broad Streeet
C. B. Lovell Manager
Will be presented the English Comedy of
"The Young Widow"
In a -variety of songs, duets, banjo solos, etc,
Fancy Dance Miss Caroline
Comic Song Mr G. Chapman
To conclude with the laughable farce of
"The Limerick Boy"
TICKETS, ONE DOLLAR, Front Seats reserved for ladies
Doors open at 7o'clock; •  curtain rises at 7:30
The note STRICT ORDER ENFORCED is indicative of the audiences during
Victoria's early theatricals, They were generally all male and they
were often reprimanded in the newspapers for throwing apples at the 9
actors, eating peanuts and throwing the shells and, in general,
making a nuisance of themselves. In the early sixties police
officers were hired to control the audiences following a theatre riot
in November, i860, when two Negroes demanded to be seated in the parquette instead of being segregated in the gallery. They were refused
permission but forced their way in. The audience in turn demanded
that they be removed. A riot .ensued when more Negroes arrived with
clubs, and the next theatrical notice stated that there would be
police officers in attendance to maintain law and order.
Admission prices remained relatively constant during this
peiod at parquette $1, pit 50^, gallery 50^, upper boxes $8 and
lower boxes $10. Curtain time was usually 7:30.
The Chapman company returned to Victoria on December l6, 1859»
and performed in the ballroom of the Royal Hotel through January 11,
i860, when they left for an engagement in Nanaimo, Vancouver's Island,
They were the first professional company to play there. The company
returned to Victoria in the latter part of January and converted a
concert hall into Victoria's first permanent theatre. The building
erected, as a music hall, in 1859» by a Mr. Vereydhen, stood on
Broad and View Streets on a lot 120' by 60'. After it xxas converted
it contained..a parquette, a gallery, and had a seating capacity of
360, ' It was: sold in l86l for $500 to Messrs Patterson and Burnes who
operated it as the Lyceum Music Hall until 1868 when it was destroyed
by fire,,   .
The Chapman's opened the theatre, under the name of the
Colonial, on Saturday, February 4th, with the Stranger and the
Cobbler- and Lord. The company's engagement lasted until April 10,
136*0, when they travelled to New Westminster to become the first
professional troupe to perform on the mainland of the Canadian West
Coast. They returned to Victoria on April 21st and performed at the
Roy?l Hotel until May 29th when they were joined by two noted American
actors, Mr and Mrs W.C. Forbes. At this time they moved back to the
Colonial Theatre, The company played nightly performances in a
varied repertoire from Nan the Good for Nothing to Hamlet. On
June 10th they departed for the Washington Territories,
The Chapmans were followed at the Colonial by the J.Be
Robinson, family in July i860. They opened with The Soldier's Bride
and Betsy Baker, on Thursday July 11, i860, and performed there
nightly through July 29th when they closed with Bulwer-Lytton's
Lady of Lyons. The company then toured the Puget Sound communities.
There were no further professional, legitimate productions in
Victoria until October i860, when., the John S. Potter Company arrived
for a three months' engagement. John S, Potter, the actor-manager of
the company had made his debut in 1817 in Pittsburgh, He managed and
built theatres throughout the United States and Canada, including the
first theatre in Chicago. Hs is said to have built more theatres and
opened more theatres than any man in the United States, On March 5?
1855. he sailed for California and developed a string of lesser
theatres on the West Coast. The Potter Company opened on October 8,
i860, with the Lady of Lyons and The Ghost in Sp ite of Himself and 10
performed nightly with a now production each night through December
20, i860, when they departed for an engagement in New Westminster,
For the first time, during the latter part of the year,
Victoria had two professional companies producing at the same time.
The J.B. Robinson Company returned to Victoria on November 26th and
opened at the Royal Hotel with Kill or Cure and The Two Gregories,
In December Mr J.B. Robinson leased one of the last remaining Fort
buildings from the Hudson's Bay Company and converted it into a
theatre. Erected by the Hudson's Bay Company in 1846 as a fur
storehouse, it was on the northwest corner of Government and View
Streets and constructed of rough logs. The new theatre was 100
feet by 40 feet and 25 feet wide with a stage 30 feet deep and 40
feet wide. The theatre contained a parquette 40 feet by 60 feet with
regular padded chairs; a ;gallery above the rear of the parquette
with wooden benches; a pit at the rear of the parquette and under
the gallery with wooden benches. The overall seating capacity was
400 people. All lighting, including footlights and hanging lamps,
employed camphene. The rough log walls on the interior were lined
with canvas and over this there was a layer of heavy wall paper.
The theatre opened on January 3» 1861, with Betsy Baker and The
Honeymoon. The theatre was named the Victoria, the first of three
theatres to bear the name Victoria, in Victoria's theatrical history.
Its life was, however, short for on January 24, l86l. the land upon
which the theatre stood was sold at auction by the Hudson's Bay
Company to Chief Justice M.P. Begbie for $6000. The theatre itself
fetched $160. The Victoria closed on January 17, 1861, but Mr
Robinson maintained the lease on it until February 8, l86l„
The Potter Company returned from New Westminster on January
15th and played for one week in Mr Potter's recent acquisition,
Moore's Music Hall. Towards the end of January the Company joined
forces with the Stark Company under the name of the Stark-Potter
Company, They opened at the Victoria on Tuesday, January 22, with
Hamlet and Raising the Wind, and played nightly through Februarjr 22,
1861, when the company disbanded. Mr James Stark, the company's
manager, was one of the first of many Canadians to migrate to the
United States in search of a theatrical career. He wac born in
Windsor,, Ontario, in I8l8 and went to Boston in 1837' While there
he became acquainted with a Mr. Abbot Lawrence, who sponsored his
studies in London and on the Continent. Upon his return to the
United States, he became an actor of some importance. He is credited
with being the first important actor to come to San Francisco. Mrs
Stark, the former Mrs Kirby, was noted as the first great woman manager
of a San Francisco theatre as well as being a popular San Francisco actred
In June, l86l, Mr Potter obtained the lease on Sir Matthew
Begbie's recentfly renovated Victoria Theatre. He joined forces
with the Robinson family and performed there occasionally throughout
the summer months. Renovations of the Victoria Theatre had begun in
February 1861, and the finished theatre was enlarged to 129 feet
deep and 45 feet wide in contrast to the previous theatre which was
40 feet deep by 25 feet wide. On either side of the main entrance
there were two rooms used as a barroom and a cigar and fruit store,
and to the right was the ticket office. The stage was 30 feet doep 11
by 38 feet wide, with a grade of 6 inches; height to proscenium
was 18 feet; width of the proscenium was 26 feet. There were  two
private boxes on each side of the stage - the entrances to the lower
ones being from the outside and to the two upper ones through the
dress circle. The parquette was 35 feet deep by 40 feet wide and it
was entirely overlooked by the dress circle. To the rear of the
parquette was the pit, where the "gods" were expected to congregate.
Between the ceiling of the stage and the roof of the building there
was a large reservoir from which a hose led to a force pump beneath
the stage. This mechanism was installed in case of fire. A wide
stair case led to the second storey or the dress circle. To the
right of the landing was the ladies' cloak room. The circle was
furnished with cushioned seats arranged for an uninterrupted view of
the stage. To the rear of the dress circle, and immediately over
the front entrance, there was a hall which was used for a time as a
photographer's studio, it was later changed into an egress. The
building was well ventilated and it was lathed and plastered throughout,
The dressing .rooms for the actops were on the south side of the stage
and they were each 7 feet by 28 feet. The total cost of the renovations were $15,000, including the value of the ground upon which
the theatre stood. The theatre could accommodate 750 people and Mr
James E, Wolfe was the architect and builder.
By December l86l Mr Potter had organized a new company which
opened at the Victoria on December 10th with Lucretia Borgia. The
company performed nightly at the Victoria and closed on January 13,
18625 in a benefit performance for Mrs W.C. Forbes. The company
disbanded shortly after this performance.
During the summer of 1862 Mr Potter and a Mr F„W. Bell
formed a partnership and opened with the F.W. Bell Dramatic Company
in A Wonderful Woman and Precious Elizabeth on August l6th. In
December Mr Potter bought out Mr Bell and took over the management
of tho company. When he went to renew his lease on January i, 1863,
he found that the agent, Mr Maray, and the theatre's doorman had
taken it over. They, in turn, became the company's managers and Mr
.,Fottcr was relegated to the position of stage manager. The company
was, however, still known as the Potter Company. They remained in
nightly performances at the Victoria until May 5, 1863, but during
April and May their performances consisted mainly of var iety acts.
On September 21, 1863, the R,G. Marsh Juvenile Company opened
at the Victoria in Naiad Queen and Betsy Baker. They played through
October 6th, when they closed with Beauty and the Beast, Jumbo Jum
and My Neighbor's Wife. R.G. -Marsh, the companj'-'s manager, had~made
his debut in Philadelphia at the Arch Street Theatre in 1846, On
June 1, 1855 > he organized the unique Marsh's Juvenile Comedians,
made up of youngsters between the ages of five and fifteen, and toured
with them throughout the United States. In i860, the company went to
San Francisco and then to Australia ,and New Zealand where they
remained for two and a half years. They were returning from this
engagement when they played in Victoria. Mr Marsh returned, with
his family, to Victoria in I865 and took over the management of the
Victoria Theatre, He directed and acted in nearly all of the performances in Victoria in I867 and 1868. 12
The Marsh company was followed at the Victoria on October 26th
by the Thomas Ward Company. They opened with Naval Engagements and
Sketches in India. The company performed a wide repertory nightly
through February 19, 1864, when ithey closed their engagement with
Virginius and A Duchess or Nothing. Thomas Ward, manager of the
company, was burn in Liverpool on May 16, 1799, and made his first
stage appearance in I8l6, He was a theatre manager in the United
States and at one time managed the Washington Theatre, Washington,
D.C. He had also been the lessee and manager of the Theatre Royal
in Montreal in I836,
The company's stage manager, A.R. Phelps, had played in theatres
in the Eastern United States after making his debut in New York in
1845, He arrived in California in 1854 and remained on the West
Coast with various companies until 1866 when he returned to Hew
York with his wife, nee Fanny Morgan. She was an Australian actress,
who joined the Ward company in 1864, She had made her debut in
Sydney in 1854 on the same night and at the same theatre in which
Edwin Booth and Laura Keen had first appeared in Australia. She
made her American debut in San Francisco at Maguire's Opera House
in the .fall of I863, and a successful New York debut in 186?,
Mrs W. H. Leighton, who was engaged by the company until
November I863, as the star, had been advertised by Maguire in San
Francisco in l86l as the "Queen of Comedy and Song", Her husband,
W.H, Leighton, became manager of the Metropolitan Theatre in San
Francisco in March 1862, where he successfully produced spectacles
and burlesque with his wife as the star. He died in November I863,
shortly after his wife completed her Victoria engagement.
Julia Dean Haynes, who followed Mrs Leighton as Ward's star,
was born into a theatrical family in New York in 1830. Her maternal
grandfather was Samuel Drake, a pioneer manager in the Western and
Southern United States. She made her ^ebut in New York in 1848, and
played in Eastern America until I856 when -srhe went to San Francisco.
Her San Francisco debut was at Maguire's Metropolitan Theatre in
Juno, 1856., She spent most of her career on the West Coast, and
died in Salt Lake City in 1868.
Mr Ward's company returned to Victoria on October 5, 1864,
to open at the Victoria in The Wife and Crowded Houses„ The company
closed their engagement with Medea and She Would and He Wouldn't
on February 18. 1865> The guest stars for the season were Annette
Ince, Julia Gould Collins, Julia Dean Haynes. Charles Wheatleigh,
and Mr and Mrs Charles Kean. Miss Annette Ince, daughter of the
manager of the Baltimore Museum Theatre and a recognized rival of
Julia Dean Haynes. had made her San Francisco debut at Maguire's
Metropolitan Theatre in 1857 and remained on the West Coast for
most of her career.
Julia Gould Collins, who followed Miss Ince, was primarily a
singer and for the most of her career she performed with minstrel
companies. She was born in London in 1827 and made her debut there
in 1842. Her Canadian debut was made at the opening of the Theatre
Royal in Montreal. In i860, 'ffhe joined Buckley's Minstrels in New 13
York, and, after going to California in 1864, whe remained on the
West Coast. ;
Mr Wheatleigh. who joined the company as a guest star on
October 23rd, was born in London, where he made his debut in 1848.
He moved to New York in the same year and performed there until 1854,,
and then went to San Francisco where he remained .for two years. In
1856 he went to Australia. He returned to America four years later
•and became a noted tragedian and theatre manager.
The most noted guest stars, for the season, were Mr and Mrs
Charles Kean, who opened with the Ward Company on December 12, 1864,
i*1 King Henry VIII and Jealous Wife. They performed nightly at the
Victoria through Wednesday the 21st in a Shakespearian repertoire.
This was Mr Kean's fourth and last American tour. He had been in
America previously in 1830, I839, and 1845- In 18)63 he toured with
his wife, the former Ellen Tree, to Australia and arrived in San
Francisco in October 1864. After the departure of the Keans the Ward
Company continued its engagement at the Victoria through February 18,
I865, Ttfhen they closed with Medea and She Would and He Wouldn't.
There were no further legitimate productions in Victoria until
the summer of I865 when the Marsh family returned to Victoria and
played occasionally in July, August and September at the Victoria.
Then in October, Mr Ward brought his ,company back and opened, with
Tiny Tries All and Somebody Else, on Friday the 13th, This engagement lasted through Monday, December the 11th, when they closed with
Heir At Law. On November 13, 1865, Edward J. Buckley, a Victorian
amateur minstrel, joined the company. In later years he became a
favourite minstrel in the United States.
Following the departure of the Ward Company, there were no
further legitimate performances, with the exception of the Marsh
family in conjunction with various local amateurs, until April 1868,
a period of approximately two and one half years. During this interval, in I.867, Mr Marsh completely refurbished and redecorated the
theatre, The ceiling was frescoed, the proscenium rebuilt, the
boxes were extended to overhang the parquette, and gas burners were
installed for lighting and heating. The theatre re-opened its doors
on October 10, I867, under the name of the Royal Theatre, a name
which remained with the theatre until its demolition in 1884.
The H.F, Stone Company broke Mr Marsh's monopoly when they
opened at the Royal on April 20, 1868, in Fanchon the Cricket. They
performed nightly at the Theatre Royal through May l6th when they
closed with A Pair of Pigeons, Dundreary's Letter from China, Maid
With the Milking Pail and Rough Diamond. H.F. Stone was the son of
John Augustus Stone, the author of the first play based on American
history - Metamora, He was born in Philadelphia and made his first
appearance on the stage at the Concert Hall Theatre in Newark, New
Jersey. By I867 he was playing in San Francisco.
The next legitimate comp any to play in Victoria was the F.M.
Bates Company which opened with London Assurance at the Theatre Royal 14
on February 1, I869. They played a nightly engagement there through
February 20th when they closed in the same play which had opened
their season. F.M. Bates had made his debut in 1858 at the Howard
Athenaeum, Boston. His wife, nee Frances Marion Hinckely, was a
popular San. Francisco actress. In 1864, Mr Bates became the manager of the Metropolitan Theatre in San Francisco. In the late
1870's, the Bates' went on tour to Australia where Mr Bates was
murdered while enroute from Sydney to Melbourne on June 26, 1879.
In August, I869, the Phelps Company performed briefly at the
Royal Theatre, however, the plays which they produced were not
recorded in Victoria, and only the following members were menti oned:
A.R. Phelps, Fanny Morgan Phelps, and Mr and Mrs J.W. Carter.
Mr and Mrs J.W. Carter returned to the Theatre Royal, with their
own company, on December 30, I869, and remained there through
February 12, 1870, when they closed with a production of Lucretia
Borgia. Mr J. W. Carter was an Eastern actor of some note'' who
first played in the West at the Apollo Theatre in Denver, Colorado,
in 1859. He remained in the Denver area until I863 when he married
Mrs Carrie Lyne. The couple were well known in Denver and Salt
Lake where they performed between 1863 and I869. Late in I869
they toured the Pacific Northwest and California. Towards the en&
of 1870 they travelled overland from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City
and remained there for a number of years.
The theatrical development of Victoria was an outgrowth of
the American Itfest Coast theatre and in particular of the San Francisco Stage. From the discovery of .gold until the completion of
the Canadian transcontinontal railroad, in the 1880's, Victoria
was Canada's West Coast theatrical centre. Its early theatre days
were duplicated (though usually on a lesser scale) in most of the
British Columbia mining towns. Itinerant actors from San Francisco
and the Pacific Northwest toured northward to Victoria and Nanaimo
and eastward to New Westminster, Hope, Yale, Barkerville and other
British Columbia towns. New towns meant new money and the populations were given everything from Shakespeare to minstrel shows.
In this gaudy, reckless frontier the theatre played its own lusty
Annual Convention Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 21st, 22nd and
23rd May, 1970, for members and guests, to be held at the Shoreline
Hotel, Nanaimo, B.C.
Thursday May 21st.
8.00 p.m. Registration and Wine & Cheese Party - Banquet Room.
Address by His Worship Mayor Ney of Nanaimo.
Friday May 22nd.
9.00 a.m. - 10.00 a.m. Registration - Ballroom. Deadline for
Luncheon and Banquet tickets is 9*30 a.m.
9.00 a.m. Old Council meeting.
10.00 a.m. Annual meeting - Ballroom.
12.00 noon. Luncheon - Bayview Room, followed by the President's
Address, "Sandford Fleming - Active Patriot".
2.30 p.m. Reconvene in Ballroom for Address by Professor Tomas
Bartroli - "The Friendly Cove Project".
5.00 p.m. New Council meeting.
8.00 p.m. Ballroom - Address by Miss Patricia M. Johnson,
"Nanaimo and her People - their Interrelationship".
Saturday May 23rd.
9.00 a.m. Meet at Nanaimo Centennial Museum for a guided tour
of the displays,
10.00 a.m. Buses will pick up the tour at the Museum.
ITINERARY: Petroglyph Park - Extension Dunsmuir Mine - Cowichan
Valley Forest Museum, arriving at approximately 12.30 p.m.
Lunch. Tour of the Museum (Note: bring a tape recorder if
you wish,) Return to Shoreline Hotel when "saturation point"
has been .reached,
6.30 p.m. No host refreshment bar - Banquet Room.
7.00 p.m. Banquet. Introduction of Honoured guests. Guest
Speaker - Mr Robert Swanson, Chief Engineer, B.C. Dept. of
Commercial Transport, a native son of Nanaimo and an authority
on the history of coal mining and logging in the area. Mr
Swanson has an interesting pastime - the development of
whistles, from locomotives to foghorns.
NOTE: Participants please complete Registration Form inside back
cover of this issue. Please make your own arrangements for
Annual Convention, May 1970, Shoreline Hotel, Nanaimo, B.C.
Name (Please print) 	
Address (Please print)
Branch ______________________ Date
Registration fee, all participants.    $2.00
Intended participation, please check        Yes  No
as indicated
Thursday May 21, Shoreline Hotel
8.00 p.m. Wine & Cheese Party    $2.00   	
Friday May 22
10.00 General assembly, Ballroom
12.00 noon. Luncheon & President's
- 2.00 p.m.   address $2.75   	
2.30 p.m. Prof. T. Bartroli
8.00 p.m. Miss P. Johnson
Saturday May 23. 1970
9.00 a.m. Bus Tour, including
Box Lunch $5.00   	
6.30 p.m. No host refreshments
7.00 p.m. Banquet, Ballroom      $5.00   	
Guest speaker Mr R. Swanson
Total Amount
Note: Advance registrants complete the form and mail, together
with payment (including coreect exchange on cheques) to
Mrs J.N. Kneen, Chairman, Registration Committee, 2540 Departure
Bay Road, Nanaimo, B.C. Please make your own reservations for


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