Edith Evans – stage and film roles

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Edith Evans photographed in 1972 by Allan Warren

The English actress Edith Evans, appeared in a wide range of stage and screen productions. After playing in amateur productions she turned professional in 1912 under the tutelage of the director William Poel. She came to wide public notice in 1924 with her performance as Millamant in The Way of the World and for the next fifty years was one of the leading performers on the British stage. She played several seasons on Broadway and made occasional appearances in continental Europe.

After briefly working in silent films during the First World War Evans made no more screen appearances until after the Second. From 1949 to 1977 she made nineteen films. Two of them captured her celebrated stage performances: Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest and Mrs St Maugham in Enid Bagnold's The Chalk Garden. In some films she played supporting character roles, and in others took a leading part, notably The Whisperers in 1967 for which she received several awards and an Oscar nomination.

Theatre[edit]

Year Play Role Venue
London, unless otherwise stated
1912 Sakuntalá Gautaumi Cambridge University
1912 Troilus and Cressida Cressida King's Hall, Covent Garden
1913 Elizabeth Cooper Martin Haymarket
1914 Hamlet Gertrude Little Theatre
1914 The Ladies' Comedy Isota Little Theatre
1914 Acid Drops Mrs Taylor Royalty
1914 My Lady's Dress Moeder Kaatje and Miss Sylvia Royalty
1914 Milestones Mrs Rhead Royalty
1916 The Conference Lady Frances Ponsonby Court
1916 The Man Who Stayed at Home Miss Myrtle Royalty
1918 The Dead City Nurse Court
1918 The Merry Wives of Windsor (basket scene, in variety) Mistress Ford London Coliseum and on tour
1918 The Merchant of Venice (trial scene, in variety) Nerissa London Coliseum and on tour
1918 Manfred Witch of the Alps and Destiny Drury Lane
1919 The Player Queen Nona King's Hall, Covent Garden
1919 The Merchant of Venice Nerissa Court
1920 My Lady's Dress Moeder Kaatje and Lady Appleby Royalty
1920 Wedding Bells Mrs Hunter Playhouse
1920 Venice Preserv'd Aquilina Lyric, Hammersmith[1]
1921 Daniel Madame Girard St James's
1921 Mother Eve Mrs Chester Ambassadors[2]
1921 Polly With a Past Mrs Van Zile St James's
1921 The Witch of Edmonton Anne Ratcliffe Lyric, Hammersmith[3]
1921 Out to Win Mrs Barraclough Shaftesbury
1921 Heartbreak House Lady Utterword Court
1922 The Wheel Mrs Faraker Apollo
1922 All for Love Cleopatra Shaftesbury
1922 I Serve Kate Harding Kingsway
1922 The Laughing Lady Cynthia Dell Globe
1922 Rumour Ruby Globe
1923 Taffy Marged Prince of Wales's
1923 Back to Methuselah The Serpent, the Oracle, the She Ancient, the Ghost of the Serpent Birmingham Repertory[4]
1923 The Merry Wives of Windsor Mistress Page Lyric, Hammersmith
1924 The Way of the World Millamant Lyric, Hammersmith
1924 The Adding Machine Daisy Devore Strand[5]
1924 Tiger Cats Suzanne Savoy
1924 Getting Married Mrs George Collins Everyman, Hampstead
1924 Back to Methuselah The Serpent, the She Ancient Court
1924 A Midsummer Night’s Dream Helena Drury Lane
1925 The Painted Swan Ann Everyman, Hampstead
1925 The Merchant of Venice Portia Old Vic
1925 Richard III Queen Margaret Old Vic
1925 The Taming of the Shrew Katherina Old Vic
1925 Measure for Measure Mariana Old Vic
1925 Antony and Cleopatra Cleopatra Old Vic
1925 The Child in Flanders Vision Old Vic
1925 The Merry Wives of Windsor Mistress Page Old Vic
1926 She Stoops To Conquer Kate Hardcastle Old Vic
1926 Julius Caesar Portia Old Vic
1926 As You Like It Rosalind Old Vic
1926 Everyman Old Vic[6]
1926 Romeo and Juliet Nurse Old Vic
1926 The Shoemaker's Holiday Dame Margery Eyre Old Vic
1926 Much Ado About Nothing Beatrice Old Vic
1926 Caroline Maude Fulton Playhouse
1926 Rosmersholm Rebecca West Kingsway
1927 The Beaux' Stratagem Mrs Sullen Lyric, Hammersmith
1927 The Lady in Law Maître Bolbec Wyndham's
1927 The Way of the World Millamant Wyndham's
1928 Back to Methuselah The Serpent, the ghost of the Serpent Court
1928 The Tragic Muse Miriam Rooth Arts
1928 Napoleon's Josephine Josephine Fortune
1929 The Lady with a Lamp Florence Nightingale Arts (transferred to Garrick)
1929 The Apple Cart Orinthia Malvern Festival
1929 Heartbreak House Lady Utterword Malvern Festival
1929 The Apple Cart Orinthia Queen's
1930 The Beaux' Stratagem Mrs Sullen Royalty
1930 Delilah Delilah Prince of Wales's
1931 OHMS Mrs Carruthers Arts (transferred to New)
1931 Tiger Cats Suzanne Royalty
1931 The Old Bachelor Laetitia Lyric, Hammersmith
1931 The Lady with a Lamp Florence Nightingale Maxine Elliott Theatre, New York
1932 Othello Emilia Old Vic
1932 Twelfth Night Viola Old Vic
1932 Heartbreak House Lady Utterword Queen's
1932 Evensong Irela Queen's
1932 Bulldog Drummond Irma Petersen Adelphi
1933 Evensong Irela Selwyn Theatre, New York
1933 Once in a Lifetime May Daniels Queen's
1933 The Late Christopher Bean Gwenny St James's
1934 Viceroy Sarah Duchess of Marlborough Arts
1934 Romeo and Juliet Nurse Martin Beck Theatre, New York
1935 The Old Ladies Agatha Payne New
1935 Romeo and Juliet Nurse New
1936 The Seagull Arkadina New
1936 The Country Wife Lady Fidget Old Vic
1936 As You Like It Rosalind Old Vic
1936 The Witch of Edmonton Mother Savage Old Vic
1937 As You Like It Rosalind New
1937 The Taming of The Shrew Katherina New
1937 Robert's Wife Sanchia Carson Globe
1939 The Importance of Being Earnest Lady Bracknell Globe and on tour
1940 Cousin Muriel Muriel Meilhac Globe
1940 Diversion (revue) various Wyndham's
1941 Diversion No 2 (revue) various Wyndham's
1941 Old Acquaintance Katherine Markham Apollo
1942 The Importance of Being Earnest Lady Bracknell Phoenix and on tour
1942 ENSA revue various Gibraltar
1942 Heartbreak House Hesione Hushabye Cambridge
1944 The Late Christopher Bean Gwenny India (ENSA tour)
1945 The Rivals Mrs Malaprop Criterion
1946 Crime and Punishment Katerina New
1946 Antony and Cleopatra Cleopatra Piccadilly
1948 The Way of the World Lady Wishfort New
1948 The Cherry Orchard Ranevskaya New
1949 Daphne Loreola Lady Pitts Wyndham's
1950 Daphne Loreola Lady Pitts Music Box Theatre, New York
1951 Waters of the Moon Helen Lancaster Haymarket
1954 The Dark is Light Enough Countess Rosmarin Ostenburg Aldwych
1956 The Chalk Garden Mrs St Maugham Haymarket
1958 Henry VIII Queen Katherine Old Vic, and toured to Paris, Antwerp, and Brussels
1958 All's Well That Ends Well Countess of Rousillon Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, Stratford
1958 Coriolanus Volumnia Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, Stratford
1961 Richard III Queen Margaret Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford
1961 Romeo and Juliet Nurse Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford
1963 Gentle Jack Violet Queen's
1964 Hay Fever Judith Bliss Old Vic
1965 The Chinese Prime Minister Mrs Forest Globe
1968 Aerial Football and The Black Girl in Search of God Narrator Mermaid
1971 Dear Antoine Carlotta Chichester Festival
1974 Edith Evans and Friends Reciter Haymarket
Sources: Who's Who in the Theatre,[7] and Who's Who,[8] except where noted in fourth column

Filmography[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
1915 Honeymoon for Three
A Welsh Singer Mrs Pomfrey
1916 East Is East Aunt
1949 The Queen of Spades The Old Countess Ranevskaya
The Last Days of Dolwyn Merri aka Women of Dolwyn
1952 The Importance of Being Earnest Augusta Lady Bracknell
1958 Look Back in Anger Mrs Tanner
1959 The Nun's Story Rev Mother Emmanuel (as Dame Edith Evans)
National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
1963 Tom Jones Miss Western Nominated — Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best British Actress
1964 The Chalk Garden Mrs St Maugham National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best British Actress
1965 Young Cassidy Lady Gregory
1967 The Whisperers Mrs Maggie Ross BAFTA Award for Best British Actress
Silver Bear for Best Actress (Berlin)[9]
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
National Board of Review Award for Best Actress
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress
Fitzwilly Miss Victoria Woodworth
1968 Prudence and the Pill Lady Roberta Bates
1969 The Madwoman of Chaillot Josephine
Crooks and Coronets Lady Sophie Fitzmore
1970 Scrooge Ghost of Christmas Past
1973 A Doll's House Anne-Marie
El caballo torero
1974 Craze Aunt Louise
1976 The Slipper and the Rose Dowager Queen
1977 Nasty Habits Sister Hildegard

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Venice Preserv'd", The Times, 1 December 1920, p. 10
  2. ^ "Mother Eve", The Times, 26 April 1921, p. 8
  3. ^ Brown, Ivor. "The Witch of Edmonton", The Manchester Guardian, 27 April 1921, p. 6
  4. ^ "Back to Methuselah!", Birmingham Repertory Theatre programme, October 1923
  5. ^ "Stage Society", The Times, 18 March 1924, p. 12
  6. ^ "Everyman at the Old Vic, London during the 1925-1926 season", University of Bristol Theatre Collection, accessed 7 August 2013
  7. ^ Gaye, pp. 579–581
  8. ^ "Evans, Dame Edith (Dame Edith Mary Booth)", Who Was Who, online edition, Oxford University Press, December 2012, accessed 5 August 2013 (subscription required)
  9. ^ "Berlinale1967: Prize Winners", berlinale.de, accessed 7 August 2013

References[edit]

  • Gaye, Freda (ed) (1967). Who's Who in the Theatre (fourteenth ed.). London: Sir Isaac Pitman and Sons. OCLC 5997224.