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; THE STROLLING PLAYERS [I/ ] A MOVING MARQUZE THEATRE. POPULAR PLAYERS' EFrroRTS. Opposite the Dresent fine edifice, His Majesty's Theatre, in Melbourne, there stand large commodious biildings oc cupied by motor firms. Years ago this walled-in open area was kno-n as tihe '"Hippodrome,".and here for many. nights Melbourne enjoyed drama:is and all kinds of popular entertainmenlts. It was here, too; that' Mr E. I. Cole, aptly termed "The Bohemian," found -ed the present combination known tthroughout the Commonwealth as Cole's Dramatic Players. Recognising that Scity folk.were amply catercd for in the Swy4 of idied a rid:numroud entertain ments, "theci impany set frth info. rho highways of. the himiterlands. and brought happy hours into somewhat dull lives. Here, a newer generation saw staged effectively the plays and dra matic successes of our forbears in other lands. "j' Uncle Tom's Cabin," "East Lynne,"' ' The Christian,'' to 'n;me but a few, were ievived alnd gladly wel comed by enthusiastic audiences. So to-day, enthusied by the patronage ex tended them, these "strolling players" are delighting their numerous patrons throughout thb several States. In an informal chat after Saturday 's concludilg performance of a week's presentations, Mr W. H. Ayr, who is associated with Mr H. M[. Kelahler as proprietor of the combination, tbhl a "Times" representative that they had a most successful season so far. ThI", present tour had lasted four years. It w- as interesting to recall, he said, the s visit here of sixteen years ago, whred - they played three weeks. Five of the L presenlt company were then appearing. A- spcial train with living waggons was c chartered by themn to visit the States. Ig the long,. ago, equestrian dramas were presented, proving popular. Two -trucks were also attached to the train to accommodate thie horses used in t those stirring dramas. Thie aplpecal for popular themes had been marked, and rto-day they were in a position to stage -i varied repertoire. Two railway trucks were now utilised foi" their property. Years ago it was customary to dish imp [ melodrama with a pretence :it ligh.tin. i 'ffects, but nowadlays the demand was Sfor effective lighting, good scenes and r dresses. The status of the presenta e tions had been wonderfully improved. Before the picture show craze canme, hii company had played nine months SBendigo and five months at'Ballarat in a season. A\t the latter place they had s used the mnarquee, then transferred to the theatre there, and later into timhe wellknown South Street Coliseum, the home of many artistic triumphs. Mr 'Ayr is a champion of Australian authors. He said that Australian plays should be encouraged. The company Swere at present rehearsing a comedy ' drama by Artur Wright, a good seller of Australian sporting stories. The comedy staged that night, under Prank Kingston's namc, was in reality writ ten by a man and woman. Chas. Dar e rell's play was also included in theii successes. * The company.totals 24;-the actors and actresses number 14, the st'ff tbtitls 7, and there is an orchestra of 3. The * large marquee tent is the most up to Sdate moving theatre iln Australia. It isll0 U feet by 55 feet, and 1200 peoplo e can ble seated therein: The stage is a substantial :one. The dark green cur (tains with special lighting from their Sown plant al? helped to create the il lusion that her wahs a theatre away llfrom the eit?"*s hul;b Here in the v course of a 'few hours'. -ork a theatre h swai's erected on a- larger plot of Iand. Though :tho comnipanm nevmr stas more

than a week in cqntres like the Wim mer'i and the Mallee, they play longer periods in Now South Wales. Three parts of the year are spent in the toWns of that tte andl the balance in Vie torian towns. They had had a good week in Horsham and were delighted at the reception. "You can't go wrong with the show that's right ~' is the company's slogan, and that is backed up, b" the support aniceoi~ed them wherever thes:e modern IBohemijans travel, for they :ha' er become a people' s popular institution.

Digitisation generously supported by
State Library of Victoria
Digitisation generously supported by

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