Opera Scotland

Mr W S Penley Suggest updates

William Sydney Penley.

Born St Peter's, Margate, 18 November 1852.

Died 11 November 1912.

English actor-manager and baritone.

W S Penley's family background was theatrical. As a child he was a choirboy in the Chapel Royal and at Westminster Abbey. His early acting experience came in farce at the Court Theatre from 1871, and in Burlesque at the Strand. This led on to a period in the comic roles of Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. Stardom arrived in 1884, when he took over the lead role, the Rev Robert Spalding, in The Private Secretary (from Tree). This continued for two years and was followed by a number of tours and revivals, to the extent that he is associated with that role more than any other. That is perhaps surprising given that in 1892 he both produced and created the part of Fancourt Babberley in Charley's Aunt, by Brandon Thomas, one of the greatest of Victorian farces, which ran for 1,466 performances. He retired from the stage in 1901.

Main source - Phyllis Hartnoll: Oxford Companion to the Theatre (3rd edn).

Roles in Scotland

Rt. Hon. Sir Joseph Porter, KCB First Lord of the Admiralty
H M S Pinafore 1879

© Copyright Opera Scotland 2020

Site by SiteBuddha