Chronology of Suffrage Plays
Further Chronology of Suffrage Performances 1907-1914
This information supplements and extends the Chronology of Plays addressing or supporting Suffrage Issues 1907-1914 by Susan Croft published in Votes for Women and Other Plays (2009). If you have information on plays and performances to add please email.
There was much interest in Indian culture at the time including in the work of the Bengali poet Randranath Tagore, while the Theosophical movement Many women like Annie Besant were attracted by its connection of social and political change with spiritual change, envisaging a new dawn where women and men would be united as equals.
Suffrage magazines like Votes for Women carried articles reflecting these interests:
VOTES FOR WOMEN
The Heart of the Women’s Movement.
Chitra is an Indian princess – and her story is told by an Indian, who wrote it twenty-five years ago. Now the name – that of Rabindra Nath Tagore – is a household word, and the charm of his “Song Offerings”, the beautiful pictures and tender emotions given in “The Gardener” and “The Crescent Moon” are known to us all.
But the little drama of “Chitra” was a revelation.
Truly from the East come the prophets and seers; and yet it seems wonderful that, twenty-five years ago, Tagore, an Indian, should have shown us the very heart of a modern woman and put his finger so surely on the pulse of what is now called the “Woman’s Movement”.
Mary Maud. “Votes For Women
Indian Tableaux by Indian Women Performed outside the Royal Court, Sloane Square 1-2 Mar 1912
There was a gratifying reponse to the attractions of the tableaux but the greater opportunity still remains for English woman to help Indian women in their efforts to provide trained Indian teachers. The Indian Women's Education Association which has this work in hand, produced at the Court Theatre in aseries of beautiful tableaux, into some of which dramatic action and declamation were introduced, the old Sanskrit classic, "Kumar Sambhava" or the "Coming of the War God".
The Vote 9th March 1912
Further Chronology of Performances 1907-1914
This supplements the Chronology of Plays addressing or supporting Suffrage Issues 1907-1914 published in Votes for Women and Other Plays ed. Susan Croft
Sketch by Kate Carew accompanying the Illustrated London News review of Break the Walls Down by Mrs Alexander Gross (Savoy 16 May 1914) See Croft 1909 p 236 for more information on Gross.
Image (Programme for the Women's Exhibition at Prince's Skating Rink 1909, designed by Sylvia Pankhurst: from Museum of London Image no. 003770
This fortnight-long event included an extensive array of stalls selling everything from farm and garden produce to craft items made by WSPU members, from bookstalls selling suffrage literature to hats donated by Liberty and Derry and Toms, palmistry, a bandstand, an ice cream soda fountain and a polling booth where women could experience how votes were cast.
There were five entertainments daily, provided by the AFL and as well as those plays like How the Vote Was Won [link] listed in the Chronology were:
The Philosopher in the Apple Orchard by Anthony Hope
Duologues performed by Eva Moore and Henry Ainley
Colonel and Mrs Henderson by Rosina Filippi
Kiddy by Cyril Twyford, with Suzanne Sheldon and Henry Ainley
A suffragette opera
Murder – a tragedy
A Gertrude Jennings play arranged by Beatrice Forbes Robertson (May 13)
A variety entertainment by Miss Esme Hubbard and Mr Horace Beaumont including ten minutes of condensed Grand Uproar, entitled La Suffragetta (May 15)
Dreams by Olive Schreiner performed by Miss Sydney Keith
A White Carnation by Justin Huntly McCarthy with Mrs and Mrs Benjamin Webster (May 20)
Love in a Railway Train with Gillian Scaife and Ashley Pearson (May 24)
A play by Miss Beatrice Forbes Robertson (May 26)
Another theatrical event reconstructed the cells inhabited by women prisoners in Holloway, to their exact size, contrasting them to a similar reconstruction of the cells inhabited by male political offenders (e.g in Ireland) which were double the size, furnished as they chose and where they could wear their own clothes. Former suffragette prisoners played themselves, undertaking the duties required in prison and other volunteers played warders, allowing visitors to experience something of the claustrophobic conditions of the jail for themselves.
National WSPU Christmas Fair and Festival
Mon 4 Dec, in the Theatre
4.30 The Twelve Pound Look by J.M.Barrie
6.00. Dramatic and musical entertainment – Miss Nellie Sargent
9.15 An Allegory by Vera Wentworth
Cast Woman – Miss Maud Hoffman
Fear – Beatrice Filmer
Prejudice – Mr Frederick Morena
Slave Woman – Violet Bazalgette
Courage – William Stack
Man – Lancelot Lowther
Produced by Frederick Morena
Dec 5 included Miss Appleyard’s Awakening by Evelyn Glover
The Maid and the Magistrate by Graham Moffatt
The Apple by Inez Bensusan with Auriol Lee and Winfred Mayo
Wed Dec 6 Trimmings by M. Slieve McGowan produced by Madeleine Lucette Ryley
Thurs Dec 7 Before Sunrise by Bessie Hatton. Cast included Cicely Hamilton
Fri Dec 8 Physical Force by Cecil Armstrong and Mrs Garrud (a ju-jitsu play)
Sat Dec 9 The Woman with the Pack by Gertrude Vaughan
A special section The Fun of the Fair was organised by the Men’s Political Union for Women’s enfranchisement
“No village fair was ever complete without the playful and amusing Punch and Judy, hence the Men’s Political Union will entertain the visitors by several suffrage dialogues from the orchestral platform in the large hall. These plays have been specially written by Miss Inez Bensusan and others”
Mr Herbert Collings presents Drawing Room Sceance and conjuring entertainment