Harry B. Waring

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H.B. Waring (b. Southam, Warwickshire, **/**/1883 - d. Leamington, Warwickshire, 11/11/1923) was an actor and theatrical manager.


When Harry B. Waring (always credited as H.B. Waring) was interviewed in 1916, he told Stage & Cinema that he was 26 and that he was born in Lille, but according to the passenger lists through which one can follow some of his travels, he was often careless about giving his correct age. He was, in fact, born in Southam, near Coventry, one of ten children of Joseph Waring and his wife Harriett Goode. His father was initially a watch repairman, but later became a school attendance officer. He also said that he had been educated at Charterhouse, but an obituary mentioned that he had attended Bablake School in Coventry, one of the oldest schools in the United Kingdom.

At the time of the Census of 1901 he was a clerk in the office of a bicycle company, but in his youth he was already a founding member of the local Dramatic Students Society and was singled out by the Coventry Evening Telegraph as “an actor of great versatility”. He left Coventry in 1911 to take to the stage professionally. He initially worked with a number of provincial repertory companies, eventually making it to the West End, where he featured in small roles in The Winter's Tale and Twelfth Night staged by Harley Granville Barker at the Savoy Theatre in London. He also acknowledged his debt to Edith Craig, who cast him in The Green Cockatoo and The Street, both in 1913.

He first came to South Africa in April 1913 with Milestones (the play by Arnold Bennett and Edward Knoblock, which had been written the year before) and reported on the miners’ strike of July that year in a letter to The Midland Daily Telegraph. He returned to England in November, but was back in South Africa in May the following year with a J.C. Williamson theatrical company headed by Madge Fabian and Stephen Ewart. He acted with them in, amongst others, Within the Law and Madame X at His Majesty’s Theatre. However, when in March 1916 the company moved on to Australia, Waring stayed behind. During this time he acted in seven short films for African Film Productions. In December of that year he travelled to East Africa to entertain the troops stationed there.

From there he joined the Howitt-Phillips Company for a tour of the Far East and late in 1919 he returned to England to recruit his own company for an extended engagement. In April 1920 the H.B. Waring Repertory Company left for India and other countries to play in the theatres owned by J.F. Maddan with a repertoire of some twenty plays. In March 1921 The Straits Times reported that the troupe was about to open at the Victoria Theatre in Singapore, starting with a roster of seven plays in eight days, with Sunday off. In 1921 Waring himself was still in India and acted in Laila Majnu, a silent film directed by J.J. Madan and starring the Anglo-Indian actress Patience Cooper. Also in the film was Jeannette Sherwin, who was a member of his touring company and was with him at the J.C. Williamson company in South Africa. He arrived back in England in 1922 and the following year became the manager of the Raynor Repertory Company. He was rehearsing Tilly of Bloomsbury for the Coventry Dramatic Society when he was killed in a motor accident near Leamington in November 1923. (FO)


Theatre Credits in South Africa

1913 – Milestones, 1913 – Ready Money, 1914 – Within the Law, 1914 – The Third Degree, 1914 – The Yellow Ticket, 1915 – Madame X, 1915 – The Man Who Stayed at Home, 1915 – On Trial, 1915 – The Whip (all at His Majesty’s Theatre and some at the Opera House in Pretoria).

Film Credits in South Africa

1916 – A Story of the Rand (Lorimer Johnston), 1916 – An Artist’s Inspiration (Lorimer Johnston), 1916 – The Silver Wolf (Lorimer Johnston), 1916 – A Kract Affair (B.F. Clinton), 1916 – The Water Cure (B.F. Clinton), 1916 – The Gun Runner (Lorimer Johnston), 1917 – The Major’s Dilemma (Dick Cruikshanks). With the latter he also had a hand in the screenplay.


The Straits Times, 5 June 1919

The New York Clipper, 3 March 1920

The Straits Times, 28 March 1921

Variety, 1 July 1921

The Straits Times, 13 November 1923

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