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Royal Lyceum Toronto people and plays

During my first ten years I played in the chief cities of Canada and in the western cities of New York State. Playing with nearly all of the prominent “stars” of the time, whose kindness and encouragement are still happy memories with me, among whom I may mention C.W. Couldock, James Anderson, John Brougham, James Wallack Jr., James Wallack and Charles Mathews, Sir Wm Don, Charles Dillon, James Bennett, Mrs. Barnes? Mrs. Fannon? Mr.  Chas. Mathews [Lizzie Weston Davenport Mathews d 1899], Mr.  and Mrs. D[aniel] W[ilmarth] Waller [Emma] and many many others.

Most of these years were at the Royal Lyceum Theatre Toronto working with John Nickinson

James Anderson [1811-1895] Born in Glasgow, James Robertson Anderson [1811-1895] managed the Leicester, Gloster and Cheltenham circuit during 1834-1835 and 1836. In 1837 he appeared with Macready at Covent Garden where he made rapid progress, appearing as Othello on 23 May 1842. He came to America in 1846-1847, 1848, 1853, 1857 and 1858-1860, recording his impressions of Canada and America for an English newspaper thereafter. Graham, Montreal, pp. 95-96, and Brown, American, p. 10.  O’Neill thesis 1973
Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Robertson_Anderson

James Bennett [died 1885] Appeared at the Royal Lyceum in 1857 in Knowle’s The Wife, Money, Othello and Hamlet.
Catalog of Dramatic Portraits, Dictionary of the Drama 1904

John Brougham (1814-1880) Irish American actor and playwright Britannica 1911 https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/1911_Encyclop%C3%A6dia_Britannica/Brougham,_John

 John Brougham began acting at sixteen in Ireland in 1830, and made his American debut at the Park Theatre, New York, on 4 October 1842. He made a reputation for himself writing burlesques of popular dramas, one of the most successful being his parody of Metamora in which Brougham played the leading role in imitation of Forrest. In 1848, he achieved his greatest single success as a playwright with Dombey & Sons at Burton's theatre in New York with Brougham as Bunsby and Baystock; John Nickinson as Dombey; and Charlotte Nickinson as Florence. Sir Lucius O'Trigger numbered among Brougham's most prominent roles, but in every part he demonstrated ''exuberant vitality, keen sympathy and appreciation, rare personal magnetism."  Following a disastrous farewell tour, friends gave him a grand complimentary benefit in New York on 17 January 1878 at which they raised $10,000. Brougham died in New York on 7 June 1880. See Phelps, Players, pp. 240-242, Graham, Montreal, p. 116, and David Hawes, "John Brougham: American Playwright and Man of the Theatre" (Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, Stanford University, 1954).

John Brougham, then a member of Wallack's company in New York, joined Nickinson’s company for the first week of July 1855. Performing three comedies, The Serious Family, The Irish Lion and The Bachelor of Arts, Brougham also offered "a selection of his favorite characters, a capital bill being presented tonight."*50 He’d also performed in 1853 in David Copperfield, and in 1856 in Dombey and Son.  O’Neill Thesis, 1973

Charles Walter Couldock [1815-1898]  came to America in 1849 and performed with Charlotte Cushman’s company at the Broadway Theatre, New York, on 8 October 1849. After leaving her company, Couldock performed for four seasons as leading man at the Walnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia, and toured as a star in the summers. He acted in Canada for over thirty years as a star.  He appeared in Toronto each year between 1854 and 1857 in plays such as School for Scandal, Richard III, Merchant of Venice, Othello, MacBeth, Hamlet, Lear and Richelieu.  

One newspaper did provide, however, the only extant record of Mrs. John Nickinson in connection with her husband's theatrical activities. Her appearance coincided with Charles Couldock's scheduled performance on 22 January 1855. 102 Couldock did not meet the commitment and on 25 January 1855 the Evening Patriot noted in its "arrival" column the names of Mrs. Nickinson and Couldock from B u f f a l o . P r e s u m a b l y, Nickinson cancelled Hamlet, Richelieu,
and The Lady of Lyons, plays regularly performed during Couldock's appearances, on 22, 23, and 24 January, 104 and substituted plays from his personal repertoire, while Mrs. Nickinson collected Couldock from Buffalo.

Daughter Eliza Couldock [1845-1872] also appeared in Toronto in 1857, when she was 12.   O’Neill thesis 1973

Clara Morris in her memoir Life on the Stage 1901, wrote of Couldock that “being of a naturally quick and irritable temper, instead of trying to control it, he yielded himself up to every impulse of vexation or annoyance, while with ever-growing violence he made mountains out of molehills and when he had just cause for anger he burst into paroxysms of rage,  even of ferocity, that had they not been half unconscious acting must have landed him in a mad-house out of consideration for the safety of others, while worst of all, like too many of his great nation, he was profane almost beyond belief.  https://books.google.com/books?id=dTNDAAAAIAAJ&dq=life+on+the+stage+clara+morris&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Walter_Couldock
American National Biography (1999) describes Couldock as being of "the old-school sentimental style of acting which required great emotive power and a command of the sweeping gesture" and at his best "in maudlin domestic pieces" where "he gave convincing life to a gallery of uniquely American stage characters." ANB also notes that while "recognized as an important theatrical figure both in his own time and in ours, Couldock has not received sustained scholarly attention from historians ...."[1][4]

Charles Dillon [1819-1881]  Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Dillon_(actor-manager)  Check original could this be Charles Dibdin or Charles Dance?


Sir William Do
n [1825-1862] born in Scotland in 1826, Sir William Don made his debut on the American stage at the Broadway Theatre, New York, in November 1850, as Cousin Joe in Rough Diamond. Sir William stood six feet four inches tall and his appearances with the Heron children was described by Ludlow as "the short and the long of it." He worked with the Heron's for nearly two years after his first appearance with them in Toronto. Not very successful in America, Sir Don left for Australia soon after his marriage to Emily Sanders, an actress. He died in Hobart Town, Tasmania, on 19 March 1862, from a throat disease. Brown, American, p.102, Graham, Montreal, 101, and Ludlow, Dramatic Life, p. 219.
Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_William_Don,_7th_Baronet
Dictionary of National Biography, 1888 https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Don,_William_Henry_(DNB00)

Sir William Don would adapt The Manager in Distress into Native Talent, a vehicle chosen frequently thereafter by Charlotte Nickinson.

Charles W. Couldock and Sir William Don, who had appeared at the Royal Lyceum under Besnard's management, began an engagement with the company on 1 September 1854 in Richelieu and The Maid and the Milk Pail. Following a puff of the company in the Toronto Daily Patriot and Express, 94 a "Leader Reader" wrote a letter to the Daily Leader stating that "a more ridiculous compound [than the puff] had never been printed," and continued to describe the theatre as a den of iniquity, where birds of a feather are sure to congregate [in] the rare luxury of a motley pit, a mottled pandemonium—reeling at one corner, clamorous, swaying, chewing, screeching, hooting, standing with unsavoury exhalation at the other.  . . . [watching] retrograde aristocrace, stalking for the liberal guffaws of its enraptured audience in the vilest casts of Dick Turpinism, tumbling like Harlequin and personifying sotted maniacs, to win a souse of applause. . .On the following day, 6 September, believing Morrison himself the author of the letter, Sir William Don, the "retrograde aristocracy" referred to in the article, conveyed a reply, accompanied by a dictionary, to the editor: Sir William Don presents his compliments to the editor of the Leader, and would feel obliged if he would send Sir Wm. a hamper of those octosyllabic words which appeared in an article in this morning’s Leader, as Sir William is about furnishing a book for the insane. Sir William begs to enclose a dictionary for the use of the office and advises the Leader to stick to two syllable words after dinner.

Toronto, Daily Patriot and Express, 2 September 1854. General articles defending or attacking the theatre as an institution were frequent during the period of this study. Such "puffs" often provided extra revenue to the editor who exacted payment in return for their publication.  O’Neill thesis 1973

Sir William Don appeared in Toronto in 1854 in a Pretty Piece of Business and 1854, 1855 and 1857 in Native Talent.

Charles Mathews (1803-1876)  Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_James_Mathews
Encyclopedia Brittanica 1911
https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/1911_Encyclop%C3%A6dia_Britannica/Mathews,_Charles

Life of Charles James Mathews, edited by Charles Dickens (2 vols., 1879); H. G. Paine in Actors and Actresses of Great Britain and the United States (New York, 1886).

Mathews appeared at the Royal Lyceum in 1854 in Used up, and in 1855 in Love a la mode

Mrs. Chas. Mathews [Lizzie Weston Davenport Mathews [1828- 1899]|
as Oberon in Midsummer Night’s Dream https://digital.library.illinois.edu/items/885d7370-4e7d-0134-1db1-0050569601ca-c#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=0&r=0&xywh=-5078%2C-302%2C13982%2C6037
Appleton’s Cyclopedia 1900 https://books.google.com/books?id=3IZRAAAAYAAJ&dq=lizzier+weston+davenport+matthews&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Fanny Morant [ 1821-1900] Began her career in London and decided to stay in the US after a starring tour through the country.  Remained a member of James Wallacks company until hired by Edwin Booth for his new theatre. (History American Stage) The attractive, if somewhat mouse-faced, performer was born in England and performed at Drury Lane before settling in America in 1853. [Oxford Reference] Catalog of Dramatic Portraits   1864  http://digitalcollections.lib.washington.edu/cdm/ref/collection/19thcenturyactors/id/417  Charles D Fredericks

Fanny Morant appeared at the Royal Lyceum in 1856 in the Hunchback and Lucretia Borgia. She debuted at the Drury Lane Theatre as a walking lady under James Anderson's management, and substituted for Mrs. Nesbitt that season. In 1856, she came to America with Anderson and starred extensively across the continent. After her marriage to Charles Smith in 1860, she worked with Wallack's company until the season of 1868-1869, she joined Edwin Booth's company. After an engagement with Daly's company, she later transferred to Albert Marshall Palmer's Union Square Stock Company where she created the role of Countess Diane De Lanieres in The Two Orphans on 21 December 1874. Brown, American, p. 251, and Coad and Mims, American Stage, p. 254

James Wallack (1794-1864) 
James William Wallack (1791-1864) belonged to a family of actors. He came to America in 1818 from London and, after that time, divided his time between England and America. He managed the National Theatre, New York, between 1837 and 1839, and opened Brougham's old Lyceum Theatre, New York, as Wallack's Theatre in 1853. Although a highly gifted actor in both comedy and tragedy, his place in American theatre history derives from his excellent management of his theatres. After ten years of productions at his first theatre, he opened a second Wallack's Theatre at Broadway and 13th Streets in 1861. Although he retired from acting in 1859, he continued managing until his death in 1864. His son, John Johnstone (Lester) Wallack, managed the Wallack Theatre after his father's death. Coad and Mims, American Stage, pp. 73, 105, 109, 110, 199-203.

He appeared at the Royal Lyceum in 1856 in MacBeth, the Merchant of Venice, Othello, Much ado about nothing, Lady of Lyon and Werner and in 1857 in Hamlet and the Three Guardsman. 

Perhaps the second visitor of the season, J. W. Wallack, attracted large houses because the audience thought him his uncle, James W. Wallack, but the elder Wallack also arrived to perform with his old friend, John Nickinson. *151

*151*Robertson states that "it was a long time after he had taken the management of the Royal Lyceum that Mr. Nickinson was able to get any of the great actors of the day to visit Toronto and play in It. Fortunately, while in New York he had gained the friendship of James Wallack, the Wallack whose star was then in the ascendant and as an act of friendship Mr. Wallack accompanied by James Wallack, Jr. came here to play a short engagement . . . Mr. Wallack's coming broke the ice, and after this it was comparatively easy to engage stars."

The first performance of the elder Wallack at the Royal Lyceum almost coincided with his last, and the last, indeed for the entire company. Almost immediately after the conclusion of the performance on Tuesday, 22 July 1856, a fire broke out in a house south of King Street in Theatre Lane. The fire spread rapidly north to King Street and south to Wellington Street. "The theatre was saved with the greatest difficulty--the whole of Mr. Nickinson's company having applied themselves with almost superhuman exertions, succeeded with the co-operation of the firemen in extinguishing the flames after the building had fairly taken."

Although both Wallack’s came to Toronto, they did not visit together as Robertson suggests. The visits of the Wallack's were a landmark in Toronto's theatre history, but the influx of stars to Toronto and the Great Lakes region at this time is undoubtedly due more to the coming of the railroads than the appearance of any one star. Robertson, Landmarks, I, 488.

James Wallack Jr. [1818-1873] The season at the Royal Lyceum in 1856-1857 boasted numerous stars: Georgina Hodson, both the Wallacks, Fanny Morant, Charles W. Couldock, William Davidge, J. Collins, J. B. Roberts, Mrs. Melinda Jones, Andrew Jackson Neafie, Henry Farren, F. E. Belton, Charlotte Wyette, Mrs. Annie Senter, R. French, Mrs. Macready, C. Barton Hill, and Ben G. Roger. Of these stars, five of them, Hodson, Wallack, Jr., Collins, Roberts, Senter, appeared twice during the season and one of them, Couldock, appeared three times.

Six of the visiting stars, Farren, Davidge, Couldock, Roberts, Neafie, and Senter, had all appeared the year before. Nickinson had discovered a guest star format which met with success during his first season at the Royal Lyceum and did not change it throughout his management

Wallack Jr. Appeared at the Royal Lyceum in 1856 and 1857.

Mr. Daniel Wilmarth Waller [died 1882] Actor and stage manager, husband of tragedienne Emma Waller, Stage manager at Booth’s Theatre

Mr. Waller was perhaps Widmarth Waller, an "American tragedian of some experience in England," who portrayed Hamlet, Virginius, Rolla, and Shylock in New York during the summer of 1851. Mrs. Waller became manager of the Division Street Theatre in Albany in 1870. Odell, Annals, VI, 15, 16, and Phelps, Players, p. 371. O’Neill thesis 1973

Mrs. D[aniel] W[ilmarth] Waller [Emma 1819-1899]
Histrionic Montreal 1902 
https://books.google.com/books?id=svQ_AAAAYAAJ&dq=Daniel+Wilmarth+Waller&source=gbs_navlinks_s

The Wallers appeared at the Royal Lyceum in 1858 in Charles Dance’s Naval Engagements, Macbeth as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, the Lady of Lyons as Claude Melnotte and Pauline, in Hamlet and Othello as Othello and Desdemona Phillipe of France

Daniel and Emma Waller travelled to the United States in 1851.Daniel played Hamlet and other tragic roles in New York soon after their arrival. Emma American stage début was as lead in a grand concert at the Jenny Lind Theatre, San Francisco, on May 6, 1852. She was received well and became a popular performer. For much of 1852 The Waller Troupe, which includes a young Edwin Booth, toured the northern Californian mining towns on horseback.
Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emma_Waller  
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

1848 EJP played with Charles Kemble Mason at the Royal Lyceum Toronto 185?-1875 William winter Brief Chronicles https://books.google.com/books?id=agYuAAAAYAAJ&dq=charles+kemble+mason+winter&source=gbs_navlinks_s
1850 EJP and CKM played in the Honeymoon and The Stranger in Toronto.  

1851 Providence RI Providence Museum CW Couldock 1815-1898 Actress 
Charlotte Cushman enticed Couldock to travel to the United States in 1849, where he made a successful American debut on 8 October 1849 in The Stranger. He played in the stock company of Philadelphia's Walnut Street Theatre from 1850-55. Among roles he first played during this period was that of Luke Fielding in The Willow Copse, a role he later reprised many times. In 1858 he joined the company of Laura Keene, where he appeared in the first American production of Our American Cousin. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Walter_Couldock
Clara Morris in her Life on the stage described Couldock’s temper and profanity https://books.google.com/books?id=dTNDAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA129#v=onepage&q&f=false 
CW Couldock eventually was a member of the Madison Square Theatre Company  The Drama 1884
https://books.google.com/books?id=Y5tNAAAAMAAJ&dq=john+parselle+actor&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Couldock appeared at the Royal Lyceum in Toronto a number of times between 1852 and 1857. A Toronto newspaper reported that Mrs. John Nickinson had gone to Buffalo to retrieve him when he failed to appear in Toronto in Jan 1855. JN also appeared with Mrs. [Anna Cora ] Mowat http://alphacentauri2.info/AnnaCoraMowatt/Anna%20Cora%20Mowatt%20--%20Main%20Page.htm  in Providence.

John Nickinson  also appeared with the Herons, including Matilda Heron,
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matilda_Heron  who was the mother of Bijou Heron 1863- 1937    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bijou_Heron#/media/File:Bijou_Heron_child_actor.jpg

1852 Buffalo JN with James Wallack and William J Florence https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_J._Florence  1831-1891 married Malvina Pray, appeared at Royal Lyceum in 1852.
Conlin was fond of 
Florence, Italy, where he had an apartment for his trips abroad, and adopted the city for his stage name. Florence was one of a select number of Americans to win the
 ribbon of the French Societe Histoire Dramatique.
[2] He was also co-founder with Walter M. Fleming of the Shriners, a Masonic Order   Did John Nickinson know him in New York?

1854-1858 Royal Lyceum William Pleater Davidge appeared a number of times. 1814-1999, The original Dick Deadeye in HMS Pinafore 1879, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Pleater_Davidge   Born in England, principal comedian Davidge first appeared in the US in 1850 at the Broadway Theatre. He later acted with Daly’s and Palmer’s Madison Square Theatre Companies. “Rare Old Bill” was awarded a special testimonial during his fiftieth year on the stage (which EJ Phillips acted in on April 21, 1887) and died the next year, in Wyoming, on his way to San Francisco with the Madison Square Company

1854-1857 Denman Thompson was at the Royal Lyceum 1833-1911 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denman_Thompson Life of Denman Thompson. He subsequently hired Eliza Nickinson Peters and other Nickinson relatives. https://books.google.com/books?id=QI0VAAAAYAAJ&dq=Henry+Denman+Thompson&source=gbs_navlinks_s

1856 Royal Lyceum James Wallack Sr 1794-1864 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_William_Wallack Wallack was an actor of the old school. Thackeray praised his performance as Shylock, and Joseph Jefferson his Don Caesar de Bazan.[4] As a performer he was endowed with a fine personality; his voice was highly melodious, set off by flexibility and careful elocution, and his knowledge of stage-effect was unexcelled. In refined and eccentric comedy Wallack had few superiors.


James Wallack 1818-1873 appeared at the Royal Lyceum 1856 and 1857. Also known professionally as Lester Wallack.? Or was the second John Wallack his cousin?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lester_Wallack . https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Wallack,_James_William_(DNB00) . John Nickinson had known both Wallacks while working in New York.

1858 Royal Lyceum Louisa Lane Drew, Mrs. John Drew John Nickinson had also played with her when she was Mrs. Mossop in 1842 and 1843 in New York at Mitchell’s Olympic Theatre. [History NY Stage] 1820-1897 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louisa_Lane_Drew EJP went to her funeral in Philadelphia in 189.  Her son in ‘law Maurice Barrymore was a Palmer colleague of EJP’s and she knew his wife Georgie Drew Barrymore and reported that she was dying in 1893.  Did EJ Phillips ever meet John, Ethel of Lionel?  

Last revised March 16,  2018

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