Amelia Bailey

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Amelia Bailey (1842-1932) was a operatic singer, actress and company manager.


Born Amelia Elizabeth Bailey in London on 5 November 1842, she was married to the theatrical manager Robert Sparrow Smythe and was the founder and co-manager of the Poussard-Bailey Opera Company

She passed away on 29 July 1932 (aged 89 years)

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

She spent two years working in South Africa, having arrived at the Cape from Mauritius with the Poussard-Bailey Company. In that time they toured most of the country, making 150 appearances in all.

She also appeared as a comic actress for their company when they did the occasional theatrical piece. She and Florence Calzado were apparently adept at transformation roles, and this talent seems to have been exploited in productions of pieces like In Love with a Waltz (Moriot), The Painter and his Model (Anon.) and The Fancy Ball (Anon).

In November 1868, the company temporarily broke up when the two men, the manager Robert Sparrow Smythe and the violinist Horace Poussard left for England and France, while two singers, Amelia and Florence Calzado, stayed at the Cape until June 1869 (inter alia presenting concerts in the Mutual Hall, Cape Town), now billed as Calzado-Bailey.

Thereafter they sailed directly back to Melbourne to rejoin the rest of the company and reconstitute the Poussard-Bailey Company.


F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 223, 244, 246, 283, 288, 294

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