Stephen Ewart (b. Birmingham, 13/03/1869 – d. Twickenham, 10/02/1953) was an actor.
Though Stephen T. Ewart originally studied law, an early interest in amateur theatre led him to becoming a professional actor. Born Thomas Stephens Stewart, he struggled along for a few years until his first appearance on the London stage in How London Lives (1897) at the Princess’s Theatre, with Charles Warner. This was to lead to a two-year engagement with Sir Herbert Tree, supporting the likes of Fred Terry and Julia Neilson. Then followed years of touring with various repertory companies and a lengthy relationship with Sir George Alexander, who was actor/manager at the St. James’s Theatre. When, in 1911, Ethel Irving and the English Comedy Company left for a tour of Australia and New Zealand, Stephen Ewart was her leading man, appearing in His House in Order, The Witness for the Defence, Lady Frederick and Dame Nature in most of the major cities. He was highly regarded, with a local critic calling him “an actor of great intelligence and strength”. The troupe returned to England in 1912.
In June 1914, a company from the J.C. Williamson organisation embarked on a tour of South Africa. Staging over twenty productions, the cast included Ewart, Madge Fabian and George R. Montford, all of whom were to play prominent roles in the local theatre of the time. The plays included Within the Law, The Land of Promise, Bought and Paid For, The Lion and the Mouse (command performance for the Governor-General, Viscount Buxton, at His Majesty’s Theatre), The Third Degree, Paid in Full, Under Cover, The Whip, The Man Who Stayed at Home and Peg o' My Heart. The company achieved considerable success and Ewart stayed in South Africa for almost three years. During this time he also acted in his first film, making an appearance as General Pretorius in De Voortrekkers (Harold M. Shaw/1916) for African Film Productions.
He resumed his theatrical career upon his return to England and also acted in a number of films, including three for Cecil Hepworth and six directed by and starring Henry Edwards, all of them co-starring Chrissie White. In The Usurper (1919), he acted with Gertrude McCoy, who was to come to South Africa to act in Sam’s Kid (Leander De Cordova/1922). He remained active on the stage, appearing in most of the major West End theatres at least until 1932. Writing in Curtain Up!, Olga Racster described him as “a finished and accomplished actor.” In 1913 he had married Mabel Wotton Lucas. His brother, H. Hamilton Stewart, was also an actor and became especially well known for the title role in William Gillette’s Sherlock Holmes, a part he is said to have played more than 2,000 times. (FO)
The World's News, Sydney, 19 August 1911
The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 September 1911
Racster, Olga - Curtain up!
Who was who in the theatre: 1912-1976
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