Thursday, January 17, 2013

Henrietta Watson

The Referee was a Sydney newspaper that covered sport and had a small theatrical section. It also included lots of gossip and occasionally brief biographical notes, like the one below about Henrietta Watson. It is an invaluable source for Australian theatrical doings during the late 19th and early 20th Centuries

Miss  Henrietta Watson -Referee August 9 1899
Miss Henrietta Watson one of the most popular and finest of the many actresses who have visited us, is making her reappearance as Miladi in 'The Kings Musketeers" at Her Majesty's. it is close on six years since the talented lady completed her last engagement here, after having been with us for over two years.
In the course of a chat , Miss Watson gave an account of her doings during her absence.
"Immediately upon my arrival in London," she said, "I was engaged to play the chief part in the farcical comedy "Thoroughbred" at Terry's Theatre, after which I accepted a merry part in "Her Advocate", produced by Mr Charles Cartwright, at the Duke of York's. Next I did six months at the Lyceum Theatre as understudy to Mrs Patrick Campbell.
"At the beginning of 1896 I replaced Miss Milward at the Adelphi Theatre as Esther Coventry, the heroine of 'One of the East', with Wm Terriss, who you will remember met with such a sad fate as the hero. The followed a tour of 12 months in second parts with Miss Olga Nethersole in the United States, and on again returning to London I played long engagements in "This Happy Life' at the Duke of York's and "A Brace of Partridge" at the Strand. My final appearance before leaving for Australia was in "The Mayflower" a very fine play.
Miss Watson's engagement with "the Firm' is only for six months and will conclude in November. Local theatregoers would like to see it extended , but that, unfortunately, is hardly likely owing to engagements awaiting the lady in England.

Henrietta had a sister, Elizabeth, who was also an actor. She married Walter Thornton Radcliffe in 1900 in Sydney.

The Referee is available from the State Library of NSW on microfilm. It is worth a look if you are interested in theatrical history.

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