Ada Bemister

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Ada Bemister (1862-1918)[1] was a singer and stage performer.


Born Ada Amelia Bemister , the daughter of Frederick George Bemister and his wife Clara (née Murray). She had two sisters, Clara Louise Bemister and Adele Lucia Florence. The latter also became an actress, appearing under the names Lucy Bemister or Florence Bemister, inter alia singing with the D'Oyly Carte company in America in 1882.

Ada began her career as a member of Mr. D'Oyly Carte's "E" Company chorus from 1886 until March 1887, when she was cast as "Yum Yum" in The Mikado when they were in Llandudno. She next departed on the company's continental tour in 1887, , and from there played "Yum Yum" and "Patience" with Carte's Continental Company until February 1888.

After a tour in South Africa during 1889-1890, and a period in Australia (appearing as "Robin Hood" in the 1892 Christmas pantomime of Babes in the Wood for instance[2]), she returned to England again, where her promising career seems to have become stalled, though her name does appear in the occasional variety production (e.g. as "Dick Whittington" in Glasgow) and as a member of the chorus for some Savoy productions, e.g. in London revivals of The Mikado and The Yeomen of the Guard between 1895-1897.

She was twice married, to Charles W. Tayleur (1896-1901) and to Alexander Thomas (1904-1918).

Ada died in 1918.

Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance

While in South Africa she was a leading member of The Edgar Perkins Lyric Opera Company during their South African tour. When it first visited Cape Town in January, 1890, to perform various operas and musical pieces in the Exhibition Theatre, the critic D.C. Boonzaier (1923) found her a superb performer, praising her performances in Falka and The Mikado in particular.


Kurt of Gerolstein. Around the World in Twenty Years: Years One to Twelve. (Blog on Friday, April 24, 2020)[3]

D.C. Boonzaier, 1923. "My playgoing days – 30 years in the history of the Cape Town stage", in SA Review, 9 March and 24 August 1923. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: p. 390

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