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FOOTLIGHT NOTES
no. 319

updated
Saturday, 25 October 2003

TO MARK THE CENTENARY OF THE OPENING OF
THE GAIETY THEATRE, LONDON, 26 OCTOBER 1903

The Orchid,
Gaiety Theatre, London, 26 October 1903

The Orchid

The above poster, which was issued probably in 1904 for the touring companies of The Orchid,
features portraits of Edmund Payne as Meakin, Ethel Sydney as Josephine Zaccary (above),
and Gabrielle Ray as Thisbe (below). The original artwork was by the actor and artist
Leigh Ellis who also appeared in a small part in The Orchid during its first run at the Gaiety.
Ellis was responsible for various fanciful watercolour portraits of several members of the
Gaiety company at this time, including Gertie Millar, Gabrielle Ray and Kitty Mason.

(printed and published by David Allen & Sons Ltd,
London, Harrow, Belfast, Manchester, Glasgow and Dublin, circa 1904)

The Orchid, the successful musical comedy by James T. Tanner, with music by Ivan Caryll and Lionel Monckton and lyrics by Adrian Ross, Percy Greenbank and Paul Rubens, was produced under the management of George Edwardes for the new Gaiety Theatre, London, on its opening night, 26 October 1903. The cast included George Grossmith junior, Lionel Mackinder, Robert Nainby, Will Bishop, Edmund Payne, Fred Wright junior, Bert Sinden, Harry Grattan, George Gregory, Gertie Millar, Hilda Jacobson, Connie Ediss, Gabrielle Ray and Ethel Sydney. The various dancers in the production included Kitty Mason and Florence Warde.

The Orchid, a poster

A poster for George Dance's 1906 touring company of The Orchid.

(printed and published by David Allen & Sons Ltd,
London, Harrow, Belfast, Manchester, Glasgow and Dublin, 1906)

The firm of David Allen & Sons Ltd was probably the most prolific printer of advertising material for the theatrical profession in England during the early years of the twentieth century. Another example of their work in connection with The Orchid, an advertisement for George Dance’s 1906 touring company, appears above.

Gabrielle Ray

Gabrielle Ray as Thisbe in The Orchid,
Gaiety Theatre, London, 1903/04.

(photo: W. & D. Downey, London, probably 1904)

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