Miss Boucicault, actress – Photo of the day

Published by Kathy Hackett on November 12, 2010 in Photo of the day.

Powerhouse Museum – Sydney

    Miss Boucicault, actress

“Some of my happiest times are linked with those days in Australia. I loved the country, I loved the people and everyone was most kind to me… Some day I hope to return there, but that at present is but a pleasant day-dream.”

Miss Nina Boucicault, from an interview in the Daily Express, quoted in The Argus, September 17, 1904.

This portrait photograph of Miss Nina Boucicault was probably taken some time between 1885 and 1889, during the time that she spent performing in Australia. Miss Boucicault was the daughter of Dionysius Lardner Bourcicault, an Irish born actor, playwright and, according to the Australian Dictionary of Biography, the most prolific dramatist to write in English. Her brother, Dionysus George, (Dot) Boucicault was a successful actor, director and manager.

Nina Boucicault was born in 1867 and came to Australia in 1885, where she and her brother appeared with their father who starred as Conn O’Kelly in The Shaughraun at Melbourne’s Theatre Royal. In 1886, Nina and Dot, who had remained in Australia after their parents had sailed for America, joined Robert Brough to create the Brough Boucicault Comedy Company.

After four years and much success on the stage in Australia the young actress left for England to further her career. By 1903 she was she was hailed as one of London’s new leading ladies for her performance in J.M. Barrie’s comedy, Little Mary , at the Wyndham Theatre. The actress’s small stature, strangely accentuated by the amount of space left around her in this portrait, made her a natural choice for the roles of children. A Daily Express article, reproduced in The Argus remarked that:

“It is worthy of note that Miss Boucicault is physically unlike most of her fellows. The leading lady is, as a general rule, divinely tall and most divinely fair; but, though Miss Boucicault is the happy possessor of distinctive and winsome good looks, in stature she is decidedly petite.”

Nina Boucicault was best known for her role as the original Peter Pan in the first production of J.M. Barrie’s play in 1904, directed by her brother, Dot, in London. The London Illustrated News described her as, ‘just the Peter of his [Barrie’s] conceiving, earnest with all a boy’s intensity at his play’.

More photographs of Miss Nina Boucicault can be found on the Picture Australia website.

Photography by Amelia Eve Wong and/or Henry H. Wong
Powerhouse Museum collection: 97/92/12-5/38
No known copyright restrictions.

    © Copyright Powerhouse Museum


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