Scala Theatre; Central School; London University Examinations

Lolly Susi’s The Central Book, p.52, says that Irene Mawer performed at the Scala Theatre as part of the Twenty First Birthday Week celebrations for The Central School.  The matinee was described as ‘the culminating celebrity event’ and was attended by Central’s Royal Patron Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll.  

Alongside Irene Mawer were other ex-students:

Peggy Ashcroft; 

George More O’Ferrall, 

Gwynneth Thurburn, 

Aileen Wyse, 

Ann Todd, 

Clifford Turner.  


Plus Fogerty’s private students and colleagues: 

Lewis Casson, 

Sybil Thorndike, 

Edith Evans, 

Reginald Dance, 

Leslie Faber, 

Henry Oscar. 

So it would seem that previous information that I have of Irene’s performance at the Scala in 1927 does actually refer to this Central School Birthday Gala.  If correct, then we know that Irene’s performance consisted of a Commedia Dell’Arte play. 

Irene Mawer published a book called “Four Commedia Dell’Arte Plays With Stage Direction” and in 1927 one of these plays was performed at the Scala Theatre with Irene Mawer playing a character called “Priscilla or the lost Columbine”.  

I will need to find the reference, but my notes go on to say that “this play has also formed part of the Dramatic Examination performances of the Ginner-Mawer School, and of the Central School of Speech Training and Dramatic Art, and for the Diploma in Dramatic art of the University of London.  It was in each case produced by the author.”  That is, produced by Irene Mawer. 

I need to delve further into this, but from the sound of it, when the students of the Central School, or of Ginner-Mawer, or of the affiliated Diploma in Dramatic Art from the University of London were examined in their dramatic performance skills, at one point they performed this Commedia mime play, which was written by Irene Mawer.  

Irene Mawer was much more important to the world of the theatre than she is currently given credit for.  The history books have ignored her, so this blog post is an attempt to re-frame her story.  Please like/share/comment, etc so that the web bots will push Miss Mawer further up in the search-engine results.  Thank you. 

Thank you to Robert Price for assistance with this article.  Robert has a podcast called The History Of Actor Training in the British Drama School. 

July 2021 

Author: Janet Fizz Curtis

Janet Fizz Curtis is trained in the Irene Mawer Method of Mime and Movement and is now writing a book about the life of Irene Mawer.

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