Louise Balfe

Jump to navigation Jump to search

Louise Balfe (fl 1870-1890) was a singer and performer

Also found as Miss Balfe


After a period in South Africa (see below), she apparently went on the make a career as an actress in Britain and the USA. An 1880 photograph of her advertising a production at the Temple Theatre in Philadelphia refers to her as "The accomplished emotional actress, Louise Balfe"[1]. Similarly, she is called "The distinguished English actress Louise Balfe" in a publicity photograph for the play Dagmar (by John Harrison) in 1885.[2] and appeared as "Sweet Peas," in the Fancy Dress Ball Costumes series, a set of 50 cards of advertising cards, issued by a tobacco company in 1889[3]

She was married to the actor George Herbert Leonard and in 1886 she was the central figure in what is referred to as the Erlanger trial, concerning a fight between her husband and the theatre manager Mr Erlanger in her room. (New York Times, May 26, 1886)

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

She was part of a new contingent performers that joined the Disney Roebuck company in mid-August of 1876. She was considered the "playgoer's favourite" of the time, and described as being a fine and lively and a talented singer. Among her many roles, she appeared as the leading characters in such burlesques as Little Don Giovanni and A Young Rip van Winkle, a "bewitching" "Rosalie" in Nemesis and the "London Waif" in Under the Gaslight. She was often paired with Mr Elton in the lighter pieces.

It appears that she left the company while on tour in the Eastern Cape, when she and Disney Roebuck had a quarrel of some kind.





F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp.347-351, 358

Go to the ESAT Bibliography

Return to

Return to ESAT Personalities B

Return to South African Theatre Personalities

Return to The ESAT Entries

Return to Main Page