W.H. Vernon

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W.H. Vernon(1834-1905)[] was a British actor, director and stage manager.

Sometimes found as W. Vernon.

Biography

In 1880 he presented a single (unremarked) matinee performance of Pillars of Society in London, the first Ibsen play to be done in England (in an abridged version called Quicksands, or The Pillars of Society, prepared for him by William Archer).

On 3 May, 1896, he played "Borkmann" in the first English production of Ibsen's John Gabriel Borkmann in the Strand Theatre, London, for a company called New Century Theatre, with Geneviève Ward as "Mrs Borkmann".

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

He toured South Africa with what was referred to as the Geneviève Ward Company for nine months in 1891-2, under the auspices of Luscombe Searelle.

They opened in the Exhibition Theatre, Cape Town, on 10 December, 1891, with Forget-me-Not (Merivale and Grove), and went on to present an astounding 26 plays during their tour, sixteen in Johannesburg alone. The tour encompassed all the major towns, but en route two of the company died and the tour was cut short.

The rest of the plays performed by the company in this season included Bess (Beringer), Mammon (Grundy), Still Waters Run Deep (), The Queen's Favourite (Grundy), Guy Mannering (Terry and Bishop), Married Life (Buckstone), A Scrap of Paper (Sardou/Simpson), Nance Oldfield (Reade), Cool as a Cucumber (Jerrold), O'Callaghan on His Legs (Anon.), Macbeth (Shakespeare) and Othello (Shakespeare).

The Cape Town critic D.C. Boonzaier (1923) was particularly impressed with Vernon's renditions of "Sir Geoffrey Heriott" in Mammon, "Dandie Dinmont" in Guy Mannering and "Viscount Bolingbroke" in The Queen's Favourite.

Sources

https://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/person/mp90094/wh-vernon

Michael Meyer. 2014. "Introduction to John Gabriel Borkman". In: Ibsen Plays: 4: John Gabriel Borkman; Pillars of Society; When We Dead Awaken, A&C Black[1]

Joan Templeton. 2018. Shaw’s Ibsen: A Re-Appraisal, Springer: p.4[2]

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 392-3

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