Elsie Spain(1908, 1908-09, 1909-10)
Born 1879, died 28 May 1970
Cotterstock in Wheelers Lane was once where Elsie Rickets lived - her stage name was Elsie Spain and she organised many concerts and pantomimes in the village hall. There are many photographs and programmes for these productions in the Village Hall section of this website.
As an amateur, Elsie Spain appeared as Theresa in W. S. Gilbert & Alfred Cellier's The Mountebanks with the Sydenham Operatic Society, under the direction of Charles H. Cellier, in November 1897. Charles H. Cellier was the brother of the composer.
Miss Spain made her professional debut in 1907 as understudy to Isabel Jay as Sally Hook inMiss Hook of Holland(Prince of Wales's, January 1907-April 1908), playing the part herself for two months.
In July 1908 Miss Spain made her D'Oyly Carte debut at the Savoy as Josephine inH.M.S. Pinafore, the second opera staged in the Second London Repertory Season. She left the D'Oyly Carte and the Savoy on September 26, appearing at the Hicks as Brigette in the musical comedyThe Hon'ble Phil, but returned to the Savoy on November 2, assuming the part of Phyllis from Clara Dow inIolanthe. She resumed Josephine and added Yum-Yum inThe Mikadoto her repertoire in December 1908, and took Gianetta and Elsie Maynard whenThe GondoliersandThe Yeomen of the Guardwere revived in January and March 1909, respectively.
When the Repertory Season ended on March 27, 1909, Miss Spain remained in London, appearing as Clarice in Eden & Somerville'sThe Mountaineersat the Savoy (December-November 1909). This was not a D'Oyly Carte production as the theatre was under the management of C. Herbert Workman. She rejoined the D'Oyly Carte organization for the third and last time in November 1909, on tour with the D'Oyly Carte Principal Repertory Opera Company as Josephine, Mabel inThe Pirates of Penzance, Patience inPatience, Phyllis, Princess Ida inPrincess Ida, Yum-Yum, Elsie, and Gianetta until February 1910.
She then returned to London for roles inThe Islander(Apollo, 1910),The Chocolate Soldier(Lyric, 1910),The Quaker Girl(Adelphi, 1910-12), andThe Dancing Mistress(Adelphi, 1912-13). In 1914 she went to Australia where she appeared in several musicals, then returned to London where she was the Bride inThe Best Man(London Pavilion and New Theatres, 1915). She later played inFun and Fancy(Palladium, 1916) and in 1919 toured variety houses with Randall Jackson.
In 1910 she made her only known recording, the duet "I Have a Song to Sing Oh" fromThe Yeomen of the Guard, with C. H. Workman. It has been preserved on compact disc ("The Art of the Savoyard," Pearl GEMM CD 9991).
Elsie Spain by Bassano, July 1911 © National Portrait Gallery, London
http://diamond.boisestate.edu/GaS/whowaswho/S/SpainElsie.htm D'Oyly Carte Opera Company