Violet Low

Jump to navigation Jump to search

Violet Low (b. Edinburgh, 06/11/1896 – d. Nairobi, 06/02/1965) was an actress.


Violet Caroline Low was the oldest daughter of portrait photographer Claude Low and his wife, Mary Masson. At first she decided to follow in the footsteps of her father and great-grandfather, who had been a portrait painter, and spent some time in Paris, but the war probably forced her to come home and she entered the theatre instead. She travelled around the small towns of England with a repertory company and, after going to London, got a small role in Three Cheers, starring Harry Lauder. She appeared in the comedy Cash on Delivery, played Victorine in the musical A Night Out and later took over Binnie Hale’s role in My Nieces. For some time she was a dancer with the Folies Bergère and then joined the Cabaret Players, with whom she stayed for two years.

She was with the Claribel Band when visiting producer Philip D. Levard signed her for the upcoming African Theatres production of No, No, Nanette in South Africa. She arrived in July 1925 and the show opened on 24 August at His Majesty’s Theatre. It was an instant success and Violet Low became the toast of the town. “Nanette, as played by Miss Violet Low, is a very sprite of roguery, a laughing vivacious little girl, almost impish in her spirit of fun”, the Rand Daily Mail enthused, and songs like “I Want to Be Happy” and “Tea for Two” became instant hits. The show opened at the Cape Town Opera House on 27 October and then returned to Johannesburg for another run at the Empire Theatre. After that it toured other centres. In between Violet appeared the pantomime Mother Goose (1925) at His Majesty’s Theatre and made cabaret appearances.

She subsequently returned to England, appearing in shows such as Lady Luck and the pantomime Red Riding Hood, but in August 1929 she married her South African producer Philip D. Levard (real name Philip Dennis Spencer) and settled down in South Africa. In 1930 she gave birth to a daughter and subsequently opened the Sunshine Studio of Stage Dancing, first in association with Vivien Talleur and then under her sole direction. During the 1930s she trained many of the local dance troupes for stage musicals and cabaret. She and Philip were divorced in 1939. (FO)


Rand Daily Mail, 25 August 1925

The Stage, 17 December 1925

Variety, 1 November 1932

Rand Daily Mail, 19 February 1965

Return to

Return to ESAT Personalities L

Return to South African Theatre Personalities

Return to The ESAT Entries

Return to Main Page