Alma Vaughan (b. Dunedin, New Zealand, **/**/1878 – d. South Africa, 31/08/1949) was a singer and actress.
Maud Walford Gordon (Alma Vaughan) was born in Dunedin, New Zealand to George Graham Gordon, a draper, and his wife Elizabeth Walford. Her first stage appearances were in school concerts, but she started acting professionally in Australia, with her first known role in the pantomime Djin-Djin, the Japanese Bogey-Man at the Princess’s Theatre in Melbourne in 1895. This was followed by numerous parts in plays like Two Little Vagabonds, The Sign of the Cross, A Royal Divorce, The Prisoner of Zenda, Trilby and The Belle of New York, which toured all the big cities. In 1899 she married (Richard Charles) R.C. Pitcher, a fellow actor with the J.C. Williamson Company, and when he left for South Africa, she came with him.
While he became the headmaster of the Twist Street School in Johannesburg and occasionally staged Shakespeare with the pupils of St. John’s College, she concentrated on concert appearances, notably at The Wanderer’s Club, and also taught singing. Nevertheless, in 1904 she appeared with C.V. Becker in Dandy Dick in aid of building funds for St. Mary’s Church at the Masonic Hall in Jeppestown. The play was directed by her husband. In 1908 she was back in Australia, primarily with the Lewis Waller Co. When, in February 1914, Waller took his company to South Africa, she was a member. Between 1914 and 1920 she acted in many plays, first with Waller and Madge Titheradge at His Majesty’s Theatre, and later with the London Dramatic Company at the Palladium Theatre. Some sources also credit her with an unidentified role in the film Fallen Leaves (Dick Cruikshanks/1919), which is quite possible as at the time she was acting on the stage with leading actress Madge Fabian.
She and “Dick” Pitcher were divorced in 1915 and her permanent return to the stage stems from this time. In December 1915, at the age of 37, Pitcher enlisted in the South African Medical Corps and took part in the East African campaign. During the war he contracted malaria and in May 1918 he was evacuated. He died a year later, with his former wife at his bedside. Maud Alma Pitcher died in 1949.
Note: In January 1916 it was reported that June Langley would be replacing Alma Vaughan in Hindle Wakes when it was going to be staged in Cape Town, because the latter was “going for film work”. It is not known what film this would have been. (FO)
Theatre Credits in South Africa
1914 – A Marriage of Convenience (Presented by Lewis Waller), 1914 – A Butterfly on the Wheel (Presented by Lewis Waller), 1914 – Henry of Navarre (Presented by Lewis Waller), 1914 – Miss Elizabeth’s Prisoner (Presented by Lewis Waller), 1915 – Hindle Wakes (Produced by Edward Vincent), 1915 – The Outcast, 1915 – The New Shylock, 1915 – My Lady’s Dress, 1915 – Mrs. Dane’s Defence, 1915 – The Younger Generation, 1915 – Searchlights, 1915 – One of the Best, 1915 – He Didn’t Want to Do It, 1915 – At the Barn, 1915 – A Pair of Silk Stockings, 1915 - Advertisement, 1915 – Captain Drew on Leave (London Dramatic Company), 1915 – John Glayde’s Honour, 1915 - Letty, 1915 – The Gay Lord Quex (Produced by Edward Vincent), 1915 – Strife (Produced by Edward Vincent), 1915 – The Rogue’s Comedy, 1916 – Dame Nature - all at the Palladium Theatre - 1916 – Peg o’ my Heart (Apollo Theatre, Germiston), 1916 - General John Regan, 1916 – The Man Who Stayed at Home (Produced by A.S. Homewood at the Standard Theatre), 1916 - Ann, 1916 – My Lonely Soldier (sketch) (Empire Theatre), 1917 – Damaged Goods (Produced by Stephen Black at the Standard Theatre), 1919 – Romance (His Majesty’s Theatre), 1919 – Within the Law (His Majesty’s Theatre), 1919 – The Little Brother (His Majesty’s Theatre), 1919 – Nobody’s Widow (Produced by Madge Fabian at His Majesty’s Theatre), 1919 – Madame X (His Majesty’s Theatre), 1919 – The Bing Boys on Broadway (Produced by Fred Coyne at the Empire Theatre), 1920 – In the Soup (Palladium Theatre), 1920 – The Fatal Wedding (New Dramatic Company at the Palladium Theatre), 1920 – East Lynne (Palladium Theatre), 1920 – Woman against Woman (Palladium Theatre), 1920 – The Silence of Dean Maitland (Palladium Theatre), 1920 – Camille (Standard Theatre).
Rand Daily Mail (many issues)
Sunday Times (many issues)
The Register, Adelaide, 12 June 1919
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