Dorothy Peters

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(b. Camberwell, London, 31/10/1898 – New York, 28/03/1995). British actress, theatrical producer.


Dorothy Vera Peters turned to the stage soon after she left school and was given her first parts by Frank Cellier, who continued to take an interest in her career. He came out to South Africa in November 1915 as part of the Ethel Irving Company, but before that a Dorothy Peters had already taken part in recitals and had played Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream (1914) as staged by Charles Sparrow. In 1916 she acted in A Story of the Rand, directed by Lorimer Johnston, which was the first fictional short produced by African Film Productions. When Cellier joined the Leonard Rayne Company, Peters moved with him and acted in a series of productions at the Standard Theatre, starring the likes of Freda Godfrey, Florence Glossop-Harris (Mrs. Frank Cellier) and Cellier himself. These plays included The Blindness of Virtue, The Double Event, The Morals of Marcus, The Professor’s Love Story, Disraeli, The Christian (with M.A. Wetherell), The Second in Command and The Prodigal Son, all in 1918. Cellier returned to Great Britain in August 1919 and it is probable that she also left South Africa at that time. An engagement to Mr. George Dive of Robinson Deep, announced in in S.A. Pictorial of 15 March 1919, doesn’t seem to have led anywhere.

On 31 December 1919, she was on board a ship heading for Jamaica and during the first months of 1920 she was on a tour of the West Indies with a theatrical company led by Frank Cellier. That same year S.A. Pictorial announced that she would be acting in Helena’s Hope, Ltd for Stephen Black. In 1922 she acted in a British short entitled Dutch Courage, directed by George Dunstall, but concentrated on the theatre, acting in such plays as Ancient Lights (1923), Fatherhood (with Jack Bligh) (1925), The Lavender Garden (1925), Cobra (with Owen Nares) (1925), The Apple Cart (1929), Sentenced (1930) and, when visiting Australia, Autumn Crocus (1932). From the mid-thirties she became a producer, notably with the Arts Theatre in Soho. In 1937 she married Lord Edward Montagu, who told the press that he had met her the previous year when he was trying his hand at a little theatrical work. The marriage didn’t last and they were divorced in 1947. In 1942, when she arrived in the United States, her entry card noted that she would apply for a residence permit and she seemed to have died in New York at the age of 97. (FO)


S.A. Pictorial, 15 March 1919

S.A. Pictorial, 28 August 1920

The Auckland Star, 8 October 1932

Sydney Morning Herald, 25 November 1932

Kalgoorlie Miner, Western Australia, 1 September 1937

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