Lilian Nancy Bache Price
3 February 1880
|Died||31 March 1970 (aged 90)|
Nancy Price, CBE (3 February 1880 – 31 March 1970), was an English actress on stage and screen, author and theatre director. Her acting career began in a repertory theatre company before progressing to the London stage, silent films, talkies and finally television. In addition to appearing on stage she became involved in theatre production and was a founder of the People's Theatre.
Christened Lilian Nancy Bache Price in Kinver, Staffordshire, England, in 1880, Nancy was the daughter of William Henry Price (a retired farmer) and Sarah Mannix. Her mother was the granddaughter of Sir Henry Mannix. After schooling in her home village and then in nearby Malvern Wells she decided at an early age to become an actress. She married the actor Charles Maude on 17 May 1907, and they were together until his death in 1943. They had two daughters Joan Maude and Elizabeth Maude. Joan, Elizabeth, and Elizabeth's daughter Jennifer Phipps all went on to become actresses. Soon after Charles and Nancy's daughters were born, they made the village of Findon in Sussex her home, living in a cottage called 'Arcana' in Heather Lane on the Downs. Findon remained her home until her death in 1970.
Nancy joined F.R. Benson's theatre company whilst still at school. The company specialised in Shakespeare's plays and toured extensively in the provinces. Her first big break came when she caught the attention of Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree, who cast her as Calypso in Stephen Phillips's production of Ulysses at Her Majesty's Theatre, London in 1902, a role in which she enjoyed great success. The part of Hilda Gunning was written for her by Arthur Wing Pinero in Letty (1904), a role in which the theatre critic J. T. Grein said: "In Letty, while others enhanced their fame, Miss Nancy Price, in the part of Hilda, the shop-girl, made her name. If we read the character aright, Miss Price realised it well-nigh to perfection". In 1909 she appeared as Mrs. D'Aquila in George Dance's production of The Whip at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. She joined Edith Craig's Pioneer Players at the Kingsway Theatre in 1911 for a performance of Christopher St. John's The First Actress. In March 1912, she appeared as India in Sir Edward Elgar's Imperial Masque The Crown of India at the London Coliseum.
Together with the Dutch-born theatre impresario J.T. Grein, Nancy Price founded the People's National Theatre in 1930. Their first production was The Man from Blankleys by F. Anstey at the Fortune Theatre. When Grein left the company Nancy became its honorary director, and in 1932 a permanent home was found at the Little Theatre in the Adelphi with Nancy as manager. The enterprise came to an end with the destruction of the theatre in 1941. During this period, Nancy established the English School Theatre Movement, which toured productions of Shakespeare plays to working class children.
In the 1950 King's Birthday Honours, Nancy was awarded a CBE for services to the stage. In the same year, she gave her final stage performance as Martha Blanchard in Eden Phillpotts' The Orange Orchard at the New Lindsey Theatre.
|1900||Pericles||Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon||Diana|
|1900||Macbeth||Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon||Hecate|
|1902||Ulysses||Her Majesty's Theatre, London||Calypso||Written by Stephen Phillips, produced by Beerbohm Tree|
|1902–03||The Eternal City||His Majesty's Theatre, London||Princess Bellini||Dramatisation of Hall Caine's novel of the same name|
|1903||Em'ly||Adelphi Theatre, London||Rosa Dartle|
|1903||A Snug Little Kingdom||Royalty Theatre, London||Sister Hope|
|1903||The Two Mr. Wetherbys||Imperial Theatre, London||Constantia||Stage Society production of St. John Hankin's first play|
|1903–04||Letty||Duke of York's Theatre, London||Hilda Gunning|
|1908||The Gay Lord Quex||Garrick Theatre, London||Sophy Fullgarney|
|1908–09||A Modern Aspasia||The Aldwych Theatre, London||Muriel Meredith||Play by Hamilton Fyfe, cast included her husband Charles Maude|
|1909||One of the Best||The Aldwych Theatre, London||Esther Coventry||Play by Seymour Hicks|
|1909||The Fountain||The Aldwych Theatre, London||Dinah Kippin||Play by George Calderon|
|1909–10||The Whip||Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London||Mrs. D'Aquila|
|1911||The Vision of Delight||His Majesty's Theatre, London||One of The Twelve Hours||Play written by Ben Jonson Coronation Gala performance|
|1911||The First Actress||The Kingsway Theatre, London||Margaret Hughes|
|1911||The Merchant of Venice||Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon||Portia|
|1915–16||Richard III||His Majesty's Theatre, London|
|1923||Outward Bound||Everyman Theatre, London||Mrs. Cliveden-Banks||Play by Sutton Vane|
|1923–24||Ambush||Garrick Theatre, London||Harriett Nichols|
|1925||Enrico IV (Henry IV)||Everyman Theatre, London||Marchioness Matilda Spina|
|1925||And That's the Truth (If You Think it is)||Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, London||Signora Frola||Based on play Così è (se vi pare) by Luigi Pirandello|
|1925||Gloriana||Little Theatre in the Adelphi, London||Princess Elizabeth||Appearing alongside John Gielgud|
|1929–30||Belle: or What's the Bother?||Prince Of Wales Theatre, London||Annie Collins||Later renamed as Down Our Street|
|1931||The Silver Box||Fortune Theatre, London||Mrs. Jones||Play written by John Galsworthy|
|1931||Salome||Savoy Theatre, London||Herodias||First public performance in England of Oscar Wilde's previously banned play|
|1932||Trifles||Duchess Theatre, London||Mrs. Hale||Play written by Susan Glaspell|
|1932||Alison's House||Little Theatre in the Adelphi, London||Miss Agatha||Pulitzer Prize winning play written by Susan Glaspell|
|1934||Nurse Cavell||Vaudeville Theatre, London||Edith Cavell||Play written by C. E. Bechhofer Roberts and C.S. Forester|
|1939||Mrs Van Kleek||Playhouse Theatre, London||Mrs Van Kleek, the lead||Play written by Elinor Mordaunt from her book of the same name published 1933
ran 10 March to 15 April 1939 Queen Mary attended Friday 14 April 1939 [The Times 18 March 1939]
|1941–42||Whiteoaks||Theatre Royal, Bath and Comedy Theatre, London|
|1943||Vintage Wine||Grand Theatre, Blackpool||Madame Popinot|
|1943–44||John Gabriel Borkman||The Playhouse Theatre, Liverpool|
|1944–45||Lisa||The Playhouse Theatre, Liverpool|
|1950||The Orange Orchard||New Lindsey Theatre, London||Martha Blanchard|
Having established herself as a stage actress in London's West End, Nancy's first film role was in the black and white, silent film The Lyons Mail. In the next decade she appeared in a further eight silent films before her first 'talkie', The American Prisoner, which was recorded in mono sound in 1929. The last silent film in which she appeared The Price of Divorce was adapted by producer Oswald Mitchell to incorporate sound and released under the name Such is the Law.
|1916||The Lyons Mail||Janette|
|1921||Belphegor the Mountebank||Countess de Blangy|
|1923||Bonnie Prince Charlie||Lady Kingsburgh||Appearing alongside Ivor Novello|
|1923||The Woman Who Obeyed||Governess|
|1923||Comin' Thro' the Rye||Mrs. Titmouse|
|1923||Love, Life and Laughter||Balloon blowers wife's friend|
|1927||Huntingtower||Mrs. Moran||Based on novel by John Buchan|
|1928||His House in Order||Lady Ridgeley||Silent film which is believed lost.|
|1928||The Price of Divorce||released as Such is the Law|
|1929||The American Prisoner||Lovey Lee|
|1930||The Loves of Robert Burns||Posie Nancy|
|1930||Such Is the Law||Aunt|
|1931||The Speckled Band||Mrs. Staunton||Early Sherlock Holmes film|
|1932||Down Our Street||Annie Collins|
|1934||The Crucifix||Miss Bryany|
|1939||The Stars Look Down||Martha Fenwick||Adapted by A.J.Cronin|
|1940||Dead Man's Shoes||Madame Pelletier||Roddy McDowell in an early role|
|1942||Secret Mission||Violette, housekeeper|
|1944||Madonna of the Seven Moons||Mama Barucci||Produced by Gainsborough Pictures|
|1945||I Know Where I'm Going!||Mrs. Crozier||Petula Clark in an early role|
|1945||I Live in Grosvenor Square||Mrs. Wilson|
|1947||Master of Bankdam||Lydia Crowther||Nicholas Parsons in a minor role|
|1948||The Three Weird Sisters||Gertrude Morgan-Vaughan||Screenplay co-written by Dylan Thomas|
|1950||The Naked Heart||Theresa Suprenant||Film also known as Maria Chapdelaine|
|1952||Mandy||Jane Ellis||Distributed by Ealing Studios|
|1938||Will Shakespeare||Queen Elizabeth||BBC production|
|1948||Nurse Cavell||Edith Cavell||BBC production|
|1949||Down Our Street||Annie Collins||BBC production|
|1950||The Silver Box||Mrs.Jones||BBC production based on a play by John Galsworthy|
|1950||Thérèse Raquin||Madame Raquin||BBC production based on novel Thérèse Raquin by Émile Zola|
|1950||The Orange Orchard||Martha Blanchard||BBC production|
|1951||Whiteoaks||Grandma Adeline Whiteoak||BBC production|
- Whiteoaks: A Play (With Mazo de la Roche, Macmillan, 1936)
- The Orange Orchard (With Eden Phillpotts, London: Samuel French, 1951)
- Hurdy-Gurdy (London : Frederick Muller, 1944)
- Ta-mera (London : Hutchinson & Co., 1950)
Essays, memoires and diaries
- Behind the Night-Light: the by-world of a child of three. Described by Joan Maude and faithfully recorded by Nancy Price (London : John Murray, 1912)
- Vagabond’s Way. Haphazard wanderings on the fells ... With illustrations by A.S. Hartrick (London : John Murray, 1914)
- Shadows on the Hills, etc. On the English Lake District. With plates (London : Victor Gollancz, 1935)
- The Gull’s Way. An account of a cruise along the East Coast of England (London : Victor Gollancz, 1937)
- Nettles and Docks, etc. Essays (London : G. Allen & Unwin, 1940)
- Jack by the Hedge, etc. Sketches of country life (London : Frederick Muller, 1942)
- I had a Comrade “Buddy” On the author’s dog (London : G. Allen & Unwin, 1944)
- Tails and Tales. On dogs (London : Victor Gollancz, 1945)
- Where the Skies Unfold, etc. Essays (Birmingham : George Ronald, 1947)
- Wonder of Wings. A book about birds (London : Victor Gollancz, 1947)
- Acquainted with the Night. A book of dreams (Illustrated by Michael Rothenstein, Oxford : George Ronald, 1949)
- Bright Pinions. On parrots (Oxford : George Ronald, 1952)
- Feathered Outlaws (London & Worthing : Henry E. Walter, 1953)
- In Praise of Trees. An anthology for friends (London : Frederick Muller, 1953)
- Into an Hour-Glass. An autobiography (London : Museum Press, 1953)
- Pagan’s Progress. High days and holy days (London : Museum Press, 1954)
- The Heart of a Vagabond. On country life in Sussex (London : Museum Press, 1955)
- I watch and listen. A book mainly concerned with the courtship and song of birds (London : Bodley Head, 1957)
- Winged Builders. A book of bird lore, chiefly concerned with the nesting, building and family habits of British birds (London : George Ronald, 1959)
- Each in his own way! Personalities I have valued, selected from my album of memories ... Woodcuts by William Wood (London : Frederick Muller, 1960)
- "Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia". www.canadiantheatre.com. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
- MARGOT AND NANCY Archived 20 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine. findonvillage.com
- Hartnoll, Phyllis; Peter Found (1992). The Concise Oxford companion to the theatre. Oxford University Press. p. 392. ISBN 978-0-19-866136-8.
- Price, Nancy (1953). Into An Hour Glass. London: Museum Press. p. 185.
- J.T. Grein (2010). Dramatic Criticism (Volume 5). London: General Books LLC. ISBN 1-153-97084-8.
- The Fortune Theatre, Russell Street, London, WC2. arthurlloyd.co.uk
- Stanton, Sarah; Martin Banham (1996). Cambridge paperback guide to theatre. Cambridge University Press. p. 282. ISBN 978-0-521-44654-9. Retrieved 10 September 2011.
- Gale, Maggie Barbara. (1996). West End women: women and the London stage, 1918–1962. Routledge. p. 64. ISBN 0-415-08495-4. Retrieved 10 September 2011.
- "No. 38929". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 June 1950. pp. 2785–2785.
- [dead link]
- Lobenthal, Joel (2004). Tallulah: the life and times of a leading lady. HarperCollins. p. 130. ISBN 0-06-039435-8.