Florence West

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Florence West (1858-1912)[1] was an English actress.


Born Florence Isabella Brandon on 15 December 1858 in Putney, near London. She married William Waller Lewis – later known as the actor-manager Lewis Waller (1860-1915)[2] – in April 1882 and had a son and a daughter. Having, like her husband, played in amateur theatricals, she gradually built a professional career as an actress, making her debut in 1883. She initially used the stage name Florence West, and frequently appeared with her husband in the West End and on tour until her retirement in 1905. In the course of her career sh created a number of characters in new plays by prominent playwrights, including Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw, and most noably the leadng role of "Zaza" in the English version by David Belasco. From about 1900 she tended to be billed as Mrs Lewis Waller.

She passed away on 14 November 1912.

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

She visited South Africa in 1903, to perform in a number of plays, appearing at the Good Hope Theatre, Cape Town, under the auspices of the Wheeler Brothers, opening with Zaza (Berton & Simon/Belasco) on 2 March. She also appeared in A Woman of No Importance (Wilde) and The Marriage of Kitty (De Gresac and De Croisset/ Gordon-Lennox).



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 1932. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: p.413

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