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?'

Miss Empsie Bowman- The Belle of New York – The Sketch – Wednesday 11th October 1899

Miss Empsie Bowman, who performs charmingly Miss Edna May’s part in “The Belle of New York,” on tour.

April 26, 2023 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Belle of New York, The Sketch, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gay Desmond – Flying Colours – The Sketch – Wednesday 13th December 1916


The table has almost usurped the place of the chair for the seated figure in photographic fashions of the moment. Here is an example the sitter in this case being pretty Miss Gay Desmond, who is now appearing in “Flying Colours,” at the Hippodrome. In the first scene, in the “Reception Hall, Hotel Pimpernel,” she is a Visitor’s fiancée. Then she takes the part of The Queen of the Mannequins in “The Fashion Parade,” and in both is entirely charming.

The Sketch – Wednesday 13th December 1916

Gabrielle Ray – Flying Colours – 4th December 1916

April 9, 2023 Posted by | Actress, Flying Colours, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Sketch, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Flying Colours – The Sketch – Wednesday 11th October 1916



As the photograph shows, the dancers are chained together by their feet.


The Sketch – Wednesday 11th October 1916

April 4, 2023 Posted by | Actress, Flying Colours, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Sketch, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Peggy – The Sketch – Wednesday 15th March 1911



The particular form of jupe-culotte worn in the new Gaiety play is described as “womanly.” and has met with considerable appreciation. The photograph shows (from left to right) Miss Billy Eade, Miss May Kennedy, and Miss Marie Deane.  – [Photograph by Central News.]


The Sketch – Wednesday 15th March 1911

March 22, 2023 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Peggy, Social History, The Sketch, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Pyjama Drama – The Sketch – Wednesday 16th January 1907



THE forthcoming transference of “Toddles” to the Playhouse may revive the remarks that have been made in connection with the now-famous suit of pyjamas worn by Mr. Maude in the piece. It was, no doubt, the fact that pyjamas are usually worn in the seclusion of one’s own room which furnished the occasion for the comments, for there is certainly no more indelicacy in them than there is in a flannel outfit for cricket or tennis.

No one would ever dream of accusing Mr. Barrie of writing a line or introducing a suggestion which could possibly bring the blush of shame to the cheek of innocence, or offend the ear or eye of even the most susceptible; yet, on the stage of the Duke of York’s Theatre; for three Christmastides in succession he has presented the spectacle of the Pyjama Drama, for who can forget the little Darlings in their nighties and their pyjamas all comfortably tucked up in their beds before the advent of Peter Pan and Tinker Bell brought them up all wide awake to have such a delightful time?

Who, too, can possibly forget beautiful Miss Pauline Chase, now promoted to be Peter, in the pyjamas of her Pillow-case Dance, and all the other benightgowned children in the second act of the play? It was, by the way, a pair of pyjamas which first brought Miss Chase into prominence. It was in America, in a musical comedy called “The Liberty Belle,” that she appeared as the Pink Pyjama Girl, among a bevy of pretty girls all wearing fluffy white nighties, and they were the sensation of the play, and practically made its reputation, so that it was acted to crowded houses for a long time. The Pink Pyjama Girl even inspired a song sung in that costume by Miss Gabrielle Ray at the Gaiety.

At the Apollo Theatre one of the most applauded numbers in “The Dairymaids” was a song to some little girls in their nightgowns just before they toddled off to bed. Children, however, can do many things and can appear in costumes which fail to draw the least remonstrance from the most strait-laced, furnishing another proof of the famous proverb, that “to the pure all things are pure,” for no one could by any possibility make any suggestion of impropriety in the case of a blue-eyed, golden-haired little mortal in a dainty befrilled and beribboned garment, reaching from her throat to her toes or to a dark-haired, dark-eyed child.

The Pyjama Drama is, however, only a “modern instance” in a subject which goes far back in the history of the British theatre, in just the same way as our coat and trousers have developed from the satin coat and breeches of the Powder period, or from the trunks and tunics of the great Elizabethan age. Who first introduced pyjamas or their equivalent nobody could probably say. Certainly, Thomas Heywood, whose “Woman Killed with Kindness,” one of the first domestic dramas of the stage, as we understand the term, did so. The admirers of Shakspere are constantly declaring that he is the most modern of all dramatists. He was certainly one of the writers of the Pyjama Drama, and bolder than any modern playwright, Bernard Shaw not excepted; he did not introduce the garment of the bedroom into his comedies, but “went the limit” and actually put it into the tragedies. When, after the murder of Duncan, Lady Macbeth heard the knocking at the gate which proclaimed the arrival of Macduff, did she not bid her husband to “get on his nightgown”? And perhaps when one of the many proposed Macbeths produces the play this season he may bring on the Thane of Cawdor in that garment worn under a dressing-gown. Lady Macbeth herself certainly wore her nightgown when in her sleep-walking scene she “gave herself away” so terribly to the Doctor and the Gentlewoman. If exception is taken to the fact that in both cases a dressing-gown is worn, no such plea can be urged in the case of “Romeo and Juliet,” “ Cymbeline,” or in the last act of “Othello,” when Desdemona, like Imogen, is discovered in bed.

The realistic actress always wears a regulation nightdress with angel-sleeves to make it look old-fashioned, even though she does not, as one famous Desdemona did, go to bed in high-heeled white satin shoes.

One of the great test-parts of the French drama which has always exercised considerable fascination for our own actresses is the name-part in “Camille,” the last act of which discovers the heroine in bed. An American actress by no means unknown in London created a great effect when she played the part by wearing an ordinary nightdress and going regularly to bed before the curtain rose, so that when she got out of bed it was seen that she had no stockings on, and she realised the opening lines of Sir John Suckling’s “Ballad upon a Wedding,” changing, of course, the familiar petticoat of the text, beneath which her feet, “like little mice, stole in and out,” to suit the exigencies of the occasion. When Mrs. Patrick Campbell produced “Beyond Human Power,” it will be remembered that she had to play practically the whole of one act in bed in a nightdress.

Again, in “Mrs. Ponderbury’s Past,” produced a few years ago at the Avenue, did not Miss Lottie Venue wear a robe de nuit, as did many of the actresses in “A Night Out,” at the Vaudeville?

The extraordinary value which may lurk within a fold of bed-clothes was, perhaps, never more vividly demonstrated than in the case of “The Worst Woman in London,” when it was produced at the Adelphi. In that play the appearance of a gentleman in a long white garment reaching down to his toes evoked laughter loud and long, to be repeated at frequent intervals as he moved about the bedroom, which the scene represented, until he finally got into bed. Even the fact that in going to bed he was going to be murdered could not restrain the feelings of the audience, and that scene ‘alone probably did not a little to secure the run of the play for many weeks, and to prove that there is money in the Pyjama Drama.


The Sketch – Wednesday 16th January 1907

The Orchid (Philco 3274 F)

Pauline Chase – The Bystander – 1906

Pyjama day

Pink Pyjama Girl


March 20, 2023 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, The Orchid, The Sketch, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Merry Widow – The Sketch – Wednesday 16th December 1908




At a performance of “The Merry Widow” at Cambridge, much attention was attracted to a box in which sat a lady and three undergraduates. It has since been discovered that the lady in question was an undergraduate, who is here shown in the dress and “make-up” in which he attended the theatre. By means of this ruse, the undergraduates were in a position to break the rule which decrees that no undergraduate may be seen in a box unless he is accompanied by a lady relative.


The Sketch – Wednesday 16th December 1908


March 7, 2023 Posted by | The Merry Widow, The Sketch | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lily Elsie – The Merry Widow – The Sketch – Wednesday 22 May 1907



The presentation of “The Merry Widow” will introduce a new leading lady to the London musical-comedy stage. We use the term “new leading lady” advisedly, for the Daly production will mark Miss Elsie’s first appearance in London as chief “star,” although she created the part of Lally in “The New Aladdin,” and played it until Miss Gertie Millar was able to take it up, and appeared with success in “The Chinese Honeymoon,” “Lady Madcap,” “The Little Michus,” “The Little Cherub,” and “See -See.”

The Sketch – Wednesday 22nd May 1907

March 5, 2023 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Lily Elsie, Social History, The Merry Widow, The Sketch, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lily Elsie – The Merry Widow – The Sketch – Wednesday 10th July 1907

February 25, 2023 Posted by | Actress, Daly's Theatre, Gabrielle Ray, Lily Elsie, Social History, The Merry Widow, The Sketch, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Butterfly with Thirty Six Lives – The Sketch – Wednesday 17th June 1908

January 3, 2023 Posted by | Actress, Amy Webster, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gabrielle Ray (Rotary 9956-E)


Gabrielle Ray (Rotary A.1103 – 3)

Gabrielle Ray (Rotary B.65 – 3)

December 11, 2022 Posted by | Actress, Deltiology, Gabrielle Ray, Rotary, Social History, The Sketch, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment