E. Story Gofton

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E. Story Gofton (1845/6?-1939) was a British actor, director, manager and critic.


Born Edward John Story at Elswick Row in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, on 31 July, 1845 (or 1846, depending on the source.) Having completed his education at the Royal Grammar School (where he was introduced to theatre), he became an actor and singer.

At the beginning of the 1890s he came to South Africa under the auspices of Luscombe Searelle, with a company led by Geneviève Ward and W.H. Vernon.

In 1893 he returned to Newcastle to direct Cinderella at Tyne Theatre (where he had been the manager for a number of years previously), and the new year of 1898 found him at the Theatre Royal, Sydney, Australia.

At one time he worked and toured with Ellen Terry, for example appearing in her production of Bernard Shaw's Captain Brassbound's Conversion.

Besides acting, Gofton also managed a number of touring companies, both in England and overseas.

He later became a film actor, working in the industry between 1913 and 1922. His film career including roles in Sixty Years a Queen (1913), The Twelve Pound Look (1920), Onder spiritistischen dwang (1921) and Circus Jim (or Laughter and Tears, 1921).

In the latter years of his life he and his wife lived in Ilford, Essex, where he worked as a theatre critic writing a number of articles for and letters to newspapers. He died on 1 May, 1939 at his home.

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

In 1891-2 he toured South Africa with what was billed as the Geneviève Ward Company for nine months in 1891-2, under the auspices of Luscombe Searelle. The leaders of the company were Geneviève Ward and W.H. Vernon. His roles while in South Africa included "Mark Chinnery" in Mammon (Grundy).


Martin Collins. 2011. "The Great North Museum: Hancock Library – discovering Mr E. Story-Gofton". In: The Tyne & Wear Arhives & Museums blog. (Posted by Nicky Clarke on December 7, 2011)[1]




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: pp. 392-3

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