Hilda Attenboro

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(b. **/**/**** - d. **/**/****). British-born actress, resident in Australia. Known both as a vaudeville performer and a dramatic actress, Hilda Attenboro (sometimes Attenborough) made some her earliest appearances on the London stage in Sapho (1912) and The Woman Conquers (1913). In 1914 she was part of a theatrical company that came to South Africa and performed at the time that martial law was proclaimed in Johannesburg in response to the great strike. It was during this time that she met another visiting British actor, Dan Thomas, a noted pantomime dame. In September 1914 Thomas moved on to Australia and by the following year Attenboro was in Melbourne to act in Mary Latimer -Nun for the George Marlow Company, her first appearance in Australia. While there she was named as “the other woman” in a 1916 court case in which Daisy Yates, the wife of Dan Thomas, sued her husband for divorce. Apparently Attenboro and Thomas had been living together as husband and wife and were reported to have had a child together.

In 1917 Thomas returned to South Africa and in October of that year he and Attenboro appeared in the revue S’Nice at the Empire Theatre. This was followed by plays such as Damaged Goods, Daddy Long-Legs, Turn to the Right and Nothing But the Truth, all but the first for the visiting American Dramatic Company. Following the arrival of Marie Tempest, she joined her touring company for Good Gracious, Annabelle!, The Marriage of Kitty, Penelope and The Duke of Killicrankie, all in 1918 at His Majesty’s Theatre in Johannesburg. By this time the South African newspapers referred to her as Mrs. Dan Thomas. It was also during this time that she acted in three films for African Film Productions, namely Bond and Word (Dick Cruikshanks/1918), The Voice of the Waters (Joseph Albrecht) and The Bridge (Dick Cruikshanks/1918).


New Zealand Herald, 16 October 1915

NZ Truth, 7 October 1916

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