Ginner-Mawer production, Vaudeville Theatre. 18 June 1936


The Stage, London 18 June 1936

Ginner-Mawer Production, Vaudeville Theatre June 1936

The Ginner-Mawer School of Dance and Drama performed regularly at theatre’s in London. In 1936, when this newspaper article was printed, the School had a large number of students, and was based in Philbeach Hall, Earls Court, in London.

On this particular occasion, the School was due to present a matinee at the Vaudeville Theatre, which is located on the prestigious Strand, in the heart of London’s West End theatre district. The theatre is still in operation today.

The show consisted first of both silent and spoken comedies, followed by a dance programme.

Irene Mawer was well known for her portrayal of Noah in her production of the story of The Flood. Miss Mawer’s version was based on the Chester Miracle Play from 1268. Following that, there were a series of modern mime sketches, and some Commedia dell’Arte.

Ruby Ginner followed-on with ballets and Greek dances, with performances by Nancy Sherwood.

Irene Mawer and Ruby Ginner must have been certain of good ticket sales, as profits from this show were split between the Institute of Mime and the Association of Teachers of the Revived Greek Dance. (There is a train of thought that the more students you can have in a show, the more of their relatives will attend, which is good for ticket sales. The Ginner-Mawer School was indeed thriving at this time, so the audience turnout could probably be relied upon.)

I don’t know if ‘Ginner-Mawer Productions’ was the official name of the company, or whether it was made up by the journalist. Certainly, it could possibly be true, as the Ginner-Mawer students did operate under their own auspices, performing all of the roles front of house, and back stage.

As with most Ginner-Mawer performances, this was a matinee, held on a Saturday afternoon. The first part of the show was mime, with the second half being dance. I hadn’t previously realised that Miss Mawer’s interpretation of the story of Noah and his Ark was actually based on the Chester Miracle Play, originally performed by the Water Drawers of the Dee (a river) in 1268! Miss Mawer played the part of Mr Noah, and I have seen a photo of her in costume and the face make-up is very strong.

Following the biblical story, came more light-hearted mime pieces, including ‘Sandwiches in a Museum’ and ‘The Little Man’ by Elinor Shan (who received another name-check in 1937).

Many of the pieces which were performed are named:

Scenes from spoken comedies – ‘The Confutation of Wisdom’, a Chinese play by F. Sladen Smith;

‘Les Femmes Savantes’ by Moliere,

and Commedia dell Arte: ‘Arlequine of the Fair’ (a new mime by Miss Mawer).

The second half of the programme was Miss Ginner’s dance programme, including two ballets called ‘Armies of the Earth and Air’ and ‘Demeter at Eleusis’ plus a Greek dance called ‘Golden Sandalled Hera’, plus ‘Artemis and the Muses’ by Nancy Sherwood.

There will be a future blog post regarding a performance at the Vaudeville Theatre on 8 July 1936.

I have contacted the vaudeville theatre via their website (8th September 202)1. Unfortunately, their records only start from 2005 onwards when they bought theatre, so they couldn’t help with any information about this performance.

Thank you for reading. So that the internet search engines can more easily find Irene Mawer, please like/share/comment, etc. Thank you.

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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