Wybert Stamford

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Wybert Stamford (1872–1919) was a stage actor, manager and producer.


Born Sydney Wybert Coleman in Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire, on 1872, Wybert Stamford was the son of Robert Gordon Coleman, a bookkeeper, and his wife Julia Rousby. When he took to the theatre, he seems to have borrowed his stage surname from Elizabeth Salome Stamford, his wife’s stepmother, who had married Thomas Rousby after the death of his first wife. By the time he was 22 he was touring the provinces as a juvenile leading man with George M. Marriott, most prominently in The Maid of the Alps, with which he was involved from 1894 to 1898. Edith Finlay (Mrs. Marriott) had the title role, which was later taken over by Lillie Langtry. Other popular and long-running plays in which he appeared were A Circus Girl, A Chinese Honeymoon and The Messenger Boy, for George Edwardes's London Gaiety Company. For Edwardes he frequently acted as stage manager and eventually as producer.

In October 1905 George Edwardes sent him to the United States as stage manager for Véronique at the Broadway Theatre in New York. Upon his return he was dispatched to South Africa to join the Edwardes and Wheeler company, where he played "Napoleon" in The Duchess of Dantzic (Sardou/Hamilton). The following year he returned to produce The Dairymaids, The White Chrysanthemum and other musical plays and had only been back in London for six weeks when he embarked upon a tour of Australia.

For much of his subsequent stage career he travelled between South Africa and Australia, occasionally returning to Great Britain to scout for new plays. Between 1915 and 1917 he was the resident producer for J.C. Williamson and the London Gaiety Company at His Majesty’s Theatre in Johannesburg. In 1919 he made one more visit to the United States to produce the musical comedy version of Pinero’s The Magistrate which, while it played in London as The Boy, was staged in New York under the title of Good Morning, Judge.

At the time of his unexpected death at Great Marlow, Buckinghamshire, on 19 March, 1919, he was back in England.

As Sydney Coleman he had married Annie Walker in 1900, but it was an unhappy marriage and ended in an acrimonious divorce in 1918. Their son, Philip Coleman, died in the Baragwanath Military Hospital in 1943.

South African Theatre Credits as Producer 1915–1917

1915 – The Seven Keys to Baldpate, 1915 – The Fortune Hunter, 1915 – Officer 666, 1915 – Stop Thief, 1915 – A Pair of Sixes, 1915 – It Pays to Advertise, 1915 – The Whip, 1915 – The Cinema Star, 1915 – The Marriage Market, 1915 – Cinderella, 1916 – To-night’s the Night, 1916 – The Quaker Girl, 1916 – Betty, 1917 – Mr. Manhattan, 1917 – The Red Widow, 1917 – Theodore & Co., 1917 – Have a Guess, 1917 – So Long, Letty, 1917 – A Country Girl, 1917 – The Girl in the Taxi.


Rand Daily Mail (many issues)

Sunday Times (many issues)



"The Late Wybert Stamford", Music and Stage, The Register (Adelaide). Saturday, 10 May 1919: p.10[1]

D.C. Boonzaier, 1923. "My playgoing days – 30 years in the history of the Cape Town stage", in SA Review, 9 March and 24 August 1923. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: p.425

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