Emmie Owen as Princess Nekaya in Utopia Limited

Emmie Owen (1891, 1892-96, 1896-97, 1898-1900)

[Born Bristol 28 Nov 1871, died Crundale, Kent 18 Oct 1905]

Emily Owen made her theatrical debut at the age of eleven at the Prince's Theatre, Bristol, a theatre at which her father was connected in a business relationship. She joined D'Oyly Carte's Company "D" in August 1891, touring in the small part of Cheetah in The Nautch Girl until December of that year. She left briefly to appear as "second boy" in a Christmas pantomime at the Prince of Wales's Theatre, Birmingham, returning to Carte's Company "D" in March 1892, at the close of the pantomime season. From March to December 1892 she toured as Cynthia in The Vicar of Bray, Polly in the companion piece, Captain Billy, and, late in the tour, as Nance in Haddon Hall.

In December 1892 she transferred to D'Oyly Carte Opera Company "B," where she played Nance and, possibly, Agatha in Haddon Hall for a couple of months, before being called to the Savoy in March to replace the departing Nita Cole as Nance. Still at the Savoy, she next created the parts of Rose in Jane Annie (May-July 1893, and on tour), Princess Nekaya in Utopia Limited (October 1893-June 1894), Zerbinette in Mirette (July-August and October-December 1894), and Juanita in The Chieftain (December 1894-March 1895, and on tour). She also filled in briefly in the title role in Mirette in July and August 1894.

From May to June 1895 she toured with Carte's Company "E" as Juanita in The Chieftain and Lady Saphir in Patience. She moved up to the title role in Patience in June, and in August, when The Gondoliers replaced The Chieftain in the Company "E" repertoire, took the part of Gianetta as well.

She returned to the Savoy as Peep-Bo for the November 1895 revival of The Mikado, then created the role of the Princess of Monte Carlo in The Grand Duke (March-July 1896). During this period she also appeared as Maria in the curtain raiser After All!. When The Mikado returned in July 1896 she was Peep-Bo again, and She in the curtain raiser Weather or No. In August she filled in briefly for Florence Perry as Yum-Yum.

She then left the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company and the Savoy to appear as Suzanne in the musical comedy Monte Carlo (Avenue Theatre, August-November 1896).

Returning to the D'Oyly Carte organization in December, she went on the Company's tour of South Africa (December 1896-June 1897), appearing as Patience in Patience, Phyllis in Iolanthe, Yum-Yum in The Mikado, Elsie Maynard in The Yeomen of the Guard, Gianetta in The Gondoliers, and Nekaya in Utopia Limited, and, perhaps, as Constance in The Sorcerer.

She returned to the Savoy in July and August 1897 appearing briefly Elsie Maynard during the first London revival of The Yeomen of the Guard, then left the D'Oyly Carte again to play Anita in La Perichole at the Garrick (September-December 1897).

Back at the Savoy once more in March 1898, Miss Owen was Gianetta in the revivals of The Gondoliers (March-May and July-September 1898), bracketing the first production of the ill-fated The Beauty Stone (May-July 1898), in which she created Jacqueline. She was Constance for the September-December 1898 revival of The Sorcerer, Lazuli in the first production of The Lucky Star (January-May 1899), and Hebe in the June-November 1899 revival of H.M.S. Pinafore, and created "Honey-of-Life" in The Rose of Persia (November 1899-June 1900). She then played "Honey-of-Life" briefly on tour with Carte's Company "D" (August 1900), before leaving the D'Oyly Carte organization for the last time.

Emmie Owen then went back to pantomime, appearing as principal girl in Cinderella at the Shakespeare Theatre, Clapham Junction (1900-01), before touring Australia and New Zealand with George Musgrove's company in pantomime and comic opera. Sadly, her career ended on that tour due to illness. She was able to return to England in 1902 but never recovered. She died in 1905 at the age of 33. For a more detailed account of Emmie Owen's life, see Tony Joseph's book "Emmie Owen and Florence Perry: 'Maidenly Perfection'" (Bunthorne Books, 2005).

Page modified October 29, 2007 © 2001-07 David Stone