Gabrielle Ray

'Gabrielle Ray said, 'I am always dancing; I love it! When I don't dance, I sing. What else is there to do?'

Ellen Terry Jubilee – The Westminster Gazette – Tuesday 12th June 1906





To-day the admirers of Miss Ellen Terry celebrated the jubilee of her appearance on the stage by a performance at Drury Lane Theatre which seemed to those whose recollections were long to outdo in enthusiasm all such benefits as they remember. For thirty hours in some cases they had waited to be present at the performance, and they greeted the rising of the curtain with an enthusiasm in which there was no evidence of weariness.



Long before one reached the theatre signs of the consuming public interest which is taken in the Ellen Terry Matinee made themselves apparent. Drury-lane was lined with spectators from an early hour assembled to watch the notables arrive. By cab, carriage, motor – brougham, and on foot, they came thick and fast from twelve o’clock onwards, till those who watched them must have wondered how even Old Drury’s capacious walls could accommodate them all. Yet in point of fact, the performance was well on before all the seats within were occupied. Doubtless there were those who realised that there is a good deal of the cut-and-come-again character about an entertainment beginning at 12.30, while some may even have been prosaic enough to consider the claims of lunch. But it was a gigantic audience which eagerly awaited the strains of the overture, conducted by Mr. J. M. Glover (without whom no Drury Lane entertainment of any kind could possibly be regarded as complete), and for some at least the accommodation available proved quite limited enough. Representatives of the Press were “rovers” on this occasion; but the term soon acquired a satirical flavour to those who, wedged at the back of a densely crowded gangway (in defiance of all the County Council’s benevolent regulations), strove in vain to catch a glimpse through a maze of matinee millinery of so much as a corner of the stage. But nobody minded under the circumstances. The great thing was to be there, and the predominant thought of one and all was to do honour to the heroine of the hour.

The programme began punctually to time with a song from Mr. Fragson, which was followed by a recitation by Mrs. Patrick Campbell, who delivered in characteristic style a fragment from “For the Crown.” These were the hors d’oeuvre, so to speak, of the banquet proper, a more substantial instalment of which followed promptly with the trial scene from “Trial by Jury,” introducing a host of popular players and other notable folk, whom it would take far too much time to specify here in full. Enough that Mr. Rutland Barrington was the Judge, Mr. Courtice Pounds the Defendant, Mr. H. A Lytton Counsel for the Plaintiff, Mr. Walter Passmore the Usher, Miss Fanny Brough the Associate’s Wife, Miss Ruth Vincent the Plaintiff, and Mr. W. S. Gilbert himself the Associate. Then among the jury were such eminent folk as Sir F. C. Burnand, Sir A. Conan Doyle, Mr. Anthony Hope. Captain Robert Marshall (Foreman), and many more of equal note, and admirable was the gusto with which they discharged their functions. In the seats by counsel figured Mr. Sidney Grundy, Mr. Martin Harvey, Mr. Hawtrey, and others. The bridesmaids, headed by Miss Phyllis Broughton, included Miss Kate Cutler, Miss Gertie Millar, Miss Decima Moore, Miss Louie Pounds, Miss Gabrielle Ray, and others famed for their charm and beauty, while elsewhere in Court were to be seen such famous representatives of the “legitimate” drama as Mrs. Bernard Beere, Miss Jessie Millward, Miss Florence St. John, Miss Lottie Venne, and many more. And never, be it added, did the scene go better, so that even Mr. Gilbert, critical as he is, must have been satisfied with the performance, at the close of which, be it added, Mr. Gilbert came in for a special round of applause at the hands of one and all, both on the stage and off it, as he was led forward to the footlights.

Then came a scene from “Le Marriage Force,” in which the two Coquelins appeared, and after this the eagerly-anticipated Tableaux Vivants, which fully realised all expectations which had been aroused concerning them. Particularly applauded were “Cinderella” of Miss Ellaline Terriss, Sir L Alma Tadema’s “Rival Beauty” (Miss Constance Collier and Miss Edna May), and the “Blessed Damozel” of Mr. Byam Shaw (Miss Jessie Bacon, Miss Muriel Beaumont, Miss Julia Neilson, and others); but all were so good it is hardly fair to particularise.

Miss Terry herself arrived at the theatre shortly before two and received a great ovation from the crowd outside as she passed in on her way to dress for her scene from “Much Ado.”

For quite one hour before and a good half-hour after the time fixed for the commencement of the programme the scene in the vestibule of the theatre was one of animation. Here were many members of the reception committee, as well as the ladies who were selling programmes, and all were kept busy in looking after the early arrivals, who, in spite of holding reserved tickets, were anxious to be among the first to take their seats. Programmes – or rather Souvenirs – were being sold at five shillings, with any additional sum that the purchaser might choose to give; and among those who were acting as saleswomen were Miss Amy Ravenscroft, Miss Ada Webster, Miss Mabel Love, Miss Jessie Ferrar, Miss Daisy Cordell, Miss Enid Spencer Brunton, Miss Hutin Britten, Miss Vera Beringer, Miss Esme Beringer, Miss May Beringer, Miss Inez Bensusan, Miss Roxy Barton, and Mrs. Cheatte.

Among the many well-known seat-holders who came either before or after the start were Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Lady Maud Warrender, Lady Clarke-Jervoise, Mr. Edgar Speyer, Sir Edmund Moss, Lo r d Glenesk, the Countess of Ellesmere, Lord Burnham, Lord Londesborough, Lord Tennyson, Sir Ernest Cassel, Sir Douglas Straight, Lady Wyndham, Lady Cooke, Lady Redwood, and Lady Crichton.


The Westminster Gazette – Tuesday 12th June 1906


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