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The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company performed Gilbert & Sullivan opera for 107 years-from 1875 when Trial by Jury received its first performance at the Royalty Theatre, London, until February 27, 1982, when the curtain didn't ring down on a special "Last Night" production at the Adelphi. The Company also produced works by other composers and librettists in the early years.

This site is a tribute to the nearly 3,000 performers who appeared on stage with the D'Oyly Carte or conducted their orchestras for those 107 years. I have tried to document each named part played by each artist and to accurately trace their periods of service and the companies within the D'Oyly Carte organization with which each artist appeared. Some highlights from artists' non-D'Oyly Carte careers are included where available, but there has been no effort to be comprehensive in this area.

The site is still a work in progress. As new information comes to light, it will be added. I have also tried to include an image (typically a photo) of each artist for whom one is available, and hope over time to be able to add photos of as many as possible.

This site would not have been possible without the research of Cyril Rollins and R. John Witts, whose book "The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in Gilbert and Sullivan Operas" (Michael Joseph, 1961), and four supplements (published in 1966, 1971, 1976, and 1983) laid the groundwork for all future efforts to document the history of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company.

Foremost among subsequent researchers have been George J. Low, Michael Walters, Maurice Farrar, and Philip Walsh. The Walters and Low pamphlet "Curtain Raisers" remains the only extensive published source of details on the shorter non-Gilbert & Sullivan companion pieces performed by the D'Oyly Carte in London and on tour in the early years of the Company. Maurice Farrar's "The Gilbert & Sullivan Alphabet of Artistes" (Rhosearn Press, 1999) supplements Rollins & Witts with personal information about many performers. Philip Walsh has done extensive research using British census and Company travel records. These gentlemen have authored numerous articles in the various Gilbert & Sullivan publications that have been invaluable in this project. All four have generously shared information developed over the past several years for which I am exceedingly grateful.

In addition, George J. Low has provided invaluable assistance by reviewing draft text, and offering constructive suggestions and corrections, as new pages are developed. Any errors that appear are mine alone and were no doubt created before Mr. Low took on his much-appreciated oversight role.

Images and Other Assistance

The site now has images of over 1,100 performers. Many of these are quite rare, and have never appeared in any book or publication. I am especially indebted to John Cannon, Brian Jones, George J. Low, Melvyn Tarran, and Fredric Woodbridge Wilson, all of whom have permitted the use of dozens of photos, many of them rare, from their personal collections.

Other individuals and organizations who have kindly provided images from their collections, details from programs, reviews, and other sources, and/or other assistance include Jesse Shereff, J. Donald Smith, Peter Parker, Katie Barnes, Maurice Farrar, Robert Morrison, Peter Joslin, Philip Walsh, Tony Joseph, Vincent Daniels, Gwyneth (Cullimore) Bealer, Jane W. Stedman, Harold Kanthor, Adrienne Simpson, Paul Ernill, Kurt Gänzl, Tony Bristow, Jeffrey Cresswell, Gerry Howe, Iain Taylor, Ralph MacPhail, Jon Ellison, Robert Duncan Johnson, Trevor Hills, Harold Sharples, Geoffrey Shovelton, Sandra M. A. Sardeson, Norman Moyle, Maureen Wheeler, Laura A. McFall, Betsy G. Miller, James V. Gardner, Lady Mary Hendrickson, Paul McShane, Andrew Whittaker, David Lovell, David Jones, Mary Lister, Jane Metcalfe, Glyn Hale, Raine Bryant, Susannah Sofaer Kramer, Sue Edwards, Pauline Yarwood, Michael Langwade, Phillip Gauthier, Vanessa Lopez, David Finnell, Geoffrey West, Susan Woodbury, Margaret (Eales) Taylor, John Brown, James Bellingham, Ross Dean, Charmaine Emery, Carey Wilson, Gillian Harris, Noel Heather, Ernest John Jones, Anthony F. P. Vickery, Quentin Riggs, Claire Atkin, Simon Moss, Christine Hori, Alexandra Stewart, John Culme (footlightnotes.tripod.com), Pat Novak (www.historicopera.com), and The Harris Museum, Preston. Also consulted were the D'Oyly Carte Archive, The Theatre Museum, the Gilbert & Sullivan Collection at the Pierpont Morgan Library, the Harvard Theatre Collection, the Mander & Mitchenson Collection, and the archive of the Gilbert & Sullivan Society, London.

Finally, I am indebted to Jim Farron, long-time curator of the "Gilbert & Sullivan Archive" website, for his advice, technical assistance, and encouragement, and to whom this site owes great credit for many enhancements in appearance and usefulness.


Many reference works were used. These include J. P. Wearing's "American and British Theatrical Biography" and his multi-volume sets on "The London Stage," Kurt Gänzl's "The British Musical Theatre" and "Encyclopedia of the Musical Theatre," George C. D. Odell's "Annals of the New York Stage," Richard C. Norton's "A Chronology of American Musical Theatre," George B. Bryan's "Stage Deaths," Reginald Allen's "Gilbert & Sullivan in America," and Vinia de Loitte's booklet on "Gilbert & Sullivan in Australia." All these as well as several collections of theatrical biography were referred to repeatedly. The publications of the Gilbert & Sullivan Society (The Gilbert & Sullivan Journal and Gilbert & Sullivan News), the D'Oyly Carte Opera Trust (The Savoyard), and the Sir Arthur Sullivan and W. S. Gilbert Societies were also especially useful. Also obituaries and other articles from general or theatrical newspapers, principally The Times (London), The New York Times, Variety, and The Era. On the Internet, Marc Shepherd's comprehensive "Gilbert & Sullivan Discography" was consulted time and time again. Some other sources, consulted less frequently, are mentioned in the individual biographies.

I welcome any additions, corrections, suggestions, or comments.

David Stone.

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Page updated February 23, 2011 © 2001-11 David Stone