Violet Vanbrugh

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 Violet Vanbrugh's Biography

néeNation.She was the elder sister of the actress Irene Vanbrugh and the theatrical educator Kenneth Barnes . She grew up in Exeter and was then educated in France and Germany.

Early career[edit]

As You Like Itat the Theatre Royal, Margate, with Violet in the lead role, Rosalind, and Irene in the smaller part of Phoebe.Sir John Gielgud , a grand nephew of Ellen Terry, described the two:

Ellen Terry helped Violet Vanbrugh land her first professional acting role in an 1886 burlesque , by F. C. Burnand ,Faust and Loose, at Toole's Theatre . The same year, she made her West End theatre debut as Ellen inThe Little Pilgrims. She then toured and also returned to Toole's, playing several roles until 1887 including Lady Anne inThe Butler. Returning to Margate later that year, she appeared in Shakespeare'sHamletas Ophelia, inA Midsummer Night's Dreamas Helena, inAs You Like Itas Rosalind and inThe Merchant of Veniceas Portia.

In London in 1888, she played Gertrude in theDeputy Registrar. In 1889 she joined the Kendals at the Royal Court Theatre as Lady Gillingham inThe Weaker Sex, and at the end of the year travelled with them to the U.S., where she played Lady Ingram in the comedyA Scrap of Paperand in dramas such asThe Iron Master,ImpulseandA White Lieand comedies suchThe Weaker Sex. Back in England in 1891, she joined Henry Irving and Ellen Terry at the Lyceum Theatre as Anne Boleyn in his successful revival ofKing Henry VIII. She also understudied Terry in several roles.

Bourchier and later years[edit]

InThe Fairy's Dilemma, 1904

Love in Tandemat Daly's Theatre , and the two married the following year.In 1895, Bourchier became lessee of the Royalty Theatre , and Vanbrugh became his leading lady in many productions, includingThe Chilli Widow,Mr and Mrs,Monsieur de ParisandThe Queens Proctor. Bourchier, Vanbrugh and her sister Irene toured America beginning in 1897. Returning to England, Vanbrugh played the title role inTeresa, which Bourchier produced at the Metropole. After managing several productions with Charles Wyndham , Bourchier became lessee of the Garrick Theatre .

Memoirs of an Aesthetedescribed his childhood impression of Vanbrugh: "Immensely tall, sedate, angular, sharp nosed, and dressed as another herbaceous border, she ate her supper haughtily, like a deaconess. I could not imagine ... the hero embracing her: unless he were equally tall he would have to climb on a chair."[page needed]In 1902, Vanbrugh and Bourchier had a child, Prudence Bourchier, who also became an actress, taking the stage name Vanbrugh.

Arthur Bourchier

,My Lady Virtue,Whitewashing Julia,The Arm of the Lawand W. S. Gilbert 'sThe Fairy's Dilemma(1904). Their production ofThe Walls of Jerichoby Alfred Sutro in 1904, ran for a very successful 423 performances. In 1905, Violet reprised her role of Portia in Bourchier's production ofThe Merchant of Veniceand again in a command performance for King Edward at Windsor Castle . In 1906, at Stratford upon Avon , she played Lady Macbeth to her husband's Macbeth. Vanbrugh and Bourchier toured in 1908 inJohn Glayde's Honourand appeared together as King Henry and Queen Katherine in Sir Herbert Tree 's successful production ofHenry VIII, which was followed by Tree's silent film of the play.

. They continued to play in Shakespeare and other pieces through World War I, but their marriage was becoming difficult. They toured together in 1916 but then separated and finally divorced in 1918.A contemporary later observed, "He treated her very much as Henry VIII treated Anne Boleyn – except he didn't quite cut off her head."Bourchier remarried a much younger actress, Violet Marion Kyrle Bellew, but Vanbrugh never remarried.

(1938), together with Leslie Howard and Wendy Hiller . In her 50th season on stage, she starred inThe Merry Wives of Windsorat The Ring Blackfriars (playing Mistress Ford to her sister's Mistress Page),and the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park . Her last film appearance was in 1940 inYoung Man's Fancy. During the Battle of Britain , the Vanbrugh sisters carried out what a biographer calls "a characteristic piece of war work" by giving, with Donald Wolfit , lunchtime performances of extracts fromThe Merry Wives of Windsorat the Strand Theatre .

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 Violet Vanbrugh's Notes

  1. ^abcdLittlewood, S. R. "Vanbrugh, Dame Irene (1872–1949)",Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edition, January 2011, accessed 7 Jan 2011(subscription required)
  2. ^Bacchus, Reginald, "Miss Irene Vanbrugh: Her Art and Herself,"The Ludgate, October 1899, p. 501
  3. ^"Dame Irene Vanbrugh",The Times, 1 December 1949, p. 7
  4. ^Gielgud, p. 115
  5. ^"Marriage of Mr. Arthur Bouchier and Miss Violet Vanbrugh (Barnes),Western Times, 11 December 1894, p. 7
  6. ^Acton, Harold.Memoirs of an Aesthete, London, Methuen, 1948
  7. ^Hamilton Ball, Robert. "The Shakespeare Film as Record: Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree",Shakespeare Quarterly, Volume 3, No. 3, July 1952, pp. 227-36
  8. ^"Miss Violet Vanbrugh Obtains a Decree Nisi",Western Times, 21 December 1917, p. 5
  9. ^Trewin, J. C. and Robert Speaight:Shakespeare Quarterly, Volume 28, No. 2 (Spring, 1977), p. 135
  10. ^"Blackfriars Ring – 'The Merry Wives of Windsor'",The Times, 15 March 1937, p. 12
  11. ^"Miss Violet Vanbrugh",Western Morning News, 21 November 1942, p. 3

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 Violet Vanbrugh's References

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