Showing posts with label pantomime. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pantomime. Show all posts

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Maggie Dickenson and Harry Clay

Easter cleaning has led me to some interesting rediscoveries, including these lovely prints of Maggie Dickenson and Harry Clay.

Maggie was a very famous Australian Dancer who featured in many pantomimes. I wrote an article about her many years ago and in response received a letter from Dr Tony Gough, whose mother performed with Maggie.

Dr Gough also sent some prints which I rediscovered in a drawer this weekend.

Dr Gough's mother, Nancy Chapman aka Nancy Leigh, performed with Maggie as one of the Whirl of Girls pictured above.

I also found some prints of Australian entrepreneur Harry Clay, which were given to me many years ago by one of his descendants. 

Harry Clay managed many small vaudeville theatres in the Sydney suburbs during the early 20th Century, including one which sat where the old Newtown Hub theatre was. 

These are beautiful pictures and I am very grateful that people shared them with me.

I really should clean up more often. 

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Pantomime was one of the major forms of entertainment for the Australian people in the 19th Century and J C Williamson pantomimes were for decades the highlight of the year for families in the capital cities. Every Xmas, Williamson would produce a lavish show with opulent sets, huge casts, elaborate choruses and dance productions.

Xmas 1883 saw Aladdin come to Melbourne. It starred J C Williamson's wife, Maggie Moore as the principal boy.

Everything about the pantomime experience was special, including the programmes, which detailed the names of cast and crew, the libretto of the panto and beautiful colour prints of the scenes.

10 years later Sydney was treated to Cinderella. Once again a huge production which featured a transformation scene showing the "wealth produce and progress of Australia.' Here is a part of the programme.

The nationalistic theme echoed the concerns of the community of the time. 1895 was the time of Federation debates and a rise in Australian nationalism. The pantomimes reflected the cultural concerns of colonial society and in many ways contibuted towards shaping political and social opinion.

Unfortunately pantomime is a fading art form, particularly in Australia, but in the 19th century it was the epitome of style, class and Christmas cheer.

More information about Australian pantomime.