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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nancy Price
Lilian Nancy Bache Price

(1880-02-03)3 February 1880
Kinver, Staffordshire, England, UK
Died31 March 1970(1970-03-31) (aged 90)
Findon, Sussex, England, UK
  • Actress
  • author
  • theatre director
  • theatre founder
Charles Maude
(m. 1907; died 1943)

Nancy Price, CBE (3 February 1880 – 31 March 1970) was an English actress on stage and screen, author and theatre director. Her acting career began in a repertory theatre company before progressing to the London stage, silent films, talkies and finally television. In addition to appearing on stage she became involved in theatre production and was a founder of the People's National Theatre.

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Personal life

Christened Lilian Nancy Bache Price in Kinver, Staffordshire, England, in 1880, Nancy was the daughter of William Henry Price (a retired farmer) and Sarah Mannix. Her mother was the granddaughter of Sir Henry Mannix. After schooling in her home village and then in nearby Malvern Wells she decided at an early age to become an actress. She married the actor Charles Maude on 17 May 1907, and they were together until his death in 1943. They had two daughters Joan Maude and Elizabeth Maude. Joan, Elizabeth, and Elizabeth's daughter Jennifer Phipps all went on to become actresses.[1] Soon after Charles and Nancy's daughters were born, they made the village of Findon in Sussex her home, living in a cottage called "Arcana" in Heather Lane on the Downs.[2]

She also wrote many books, including her autobiography, Into an Hour-Glass (1953). At one time she managed the "Little Theatre" in the Adelphi, off the Strand.

Findon remained her home until her death in 1970.

Theatre career

As Princess Bellini in The Eternal City in 1902

Nancy joined F.R. Benson's theatre company whilst still at school. The company specialised in Shakespeare's plays and toured extensively in the provinces. Her first big break came when she caught the attention of Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree, who cast her as Calypso in Stephen Phillips's production of Ulysses at Her Majesty's Theatre, London in 1902, a role in which she enjoyed great success.[3] The part of Hilda Gunning was written for her by Arthur Wing Pinero in Letty (1904),[4] a role in which the theatre critic J. T. Grein said: "In Letty, while others enhanced their fame, Miss Nancy Price, in the part of Hilda, the shop-girl, made her name. If we read the character aright, Miss Price realised it well-nigh to perfection".[5] In 1909 she appeared as Mrs. D'Aquila in George Dance's production of The Whip at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. She joined Edith Craig's Pioneer Players at the Kingsway Theatre in 1911 for a performance of Christopher St. John's The First Actress. In March 1912, she appeared as India in Sir Edward Elgar's Imperial Masque The Crown of India at the London Coliseum.

Together with the Dutch-born theatre impresario J.T. Grein, Nancy Price founded the People's National Theatre in 1930. Their first production was The Man from Blankleys by F. Anstey at the Fortune Theatre.[6] When Grein left the company Nancy became its honorary director, and in 1932 a permanent home was found at the Little Theatre in the Adelphi with Nancy as manager. The enterprise came to an end with the destruction of the theatre in 1941.[7] During this period, Nancy established the English School Theatre Movement, which toured productions of Shakespeare plays to working class children.[8]

In the 1950 King's Birthday Honours, Nancy was awarded a CBE for services to the stage.[9] In the same year, she gave her final stage performance as Martha Blanchard in the play she co-wrote with Eden Phillpotts, The Orange Orchard, at the New Lindsey Theatre.[10]

Theatre performances

Season Play Title Theatre Role Notes
1900 Pericles Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon Diana
1900 Macbeth Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon Hecate
1902 Ulysses Her Majesty's Theatre, London Calypso Written by Stephen Phillips, produced by Beerbohm Tree
1902–03 The Eternal City His Majesty's Theatre, London Princess Bellini Dramatisation of Hall Caine's novel of the same name
1903 Em'ly Adelphi Theatre, London Rosa Dartle
1903 A Snug Little Kingdom Royalty Theatre, London Sister Hope
1903 The Two Mr. Wetherbys Imperial Theatre, London Constantia Stage Society production of St. John Hankin's first play
1903–04 Letty Duke of York's Theatre, London Hilda Gunning
1908 The Gay Lord Quex Garrick Theatre, London Sophy Fullgarney
1908–09 A Modern Aspasia The Aldwych Theatre, London Muriel Meredith Play by Hamilton Fyfe, cast included her husband Charles Maude
1909 One of the Best The Aldwych Theatre, London Esther Coventry Play by Seymour Hicks
1909 The Fountain The Aldwych Theatre, London Dinah Kippin Play by George Calderon
1909–10 The Whip Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London Mrs. D'Aquila
1911 The Vision of Delight His Majesty's Theatre, London One of The Twelve Hours Play written by Ben Jonson Coronation Gala performance
1911 The First Actress The Kingsway Theatre, London Margaret Hughes
1911 The Merchant of Venice Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon Portia
1915–16 Richard III His Majesty's Theatre, London
1923 Outward Bound Everyman Theatre, London Mrs. Cliveden-Banks Play by Sutton Vane
1923–24 Ambush Garrick Theatre, London Harriett Nichols
1925 Enrico IV (Henry IV) Everyman Theatre, London Marchioness Matilda Spina Play written by Luigi Pirandello
1925 And That's the Truth (If You Think it is) Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, London Signora Frola Based on the play Così è (se vi pare) by Luigi Pirandello
1925 Gloriana Little Theatre in the Adelphi, London Princess Elizabeth Appearing alongside John Gielgud
1929–30 Belle: or What's the Bother? Prince Of Wales Theatre, London Annie Collins Later renamed as Down Our Street
1931 The Silver Box Fortune Theatre, London Mrs. Jones Play written by John Galsworthy
1931 Salome Savoy Theatre, London Herodias First public performance in England of Oscar Wilde's previously banned play
1932 Trifles Duchess Theatre, London Mrs. Hale Play written by Susan Glaspell
1932 Alison's House Little Theatre in the Adelphi, London Miss Agatha Pulitzer Prize winning play written by Susan Glaspell
1934 Nurse Cavell Vaudeville Theatre, London Edith Cavell Play written by C. E. Bechhofer Roberts and C.S. Forester
1934 The Life That I Gave Him People's National Theatre Don'Anna Luna Play written by Luigi Pirandello (Italian source: La vita che ti diedi, 1923)
1939 Mrs Van Kleek Playhouse Theatre, London Mrs Van Kleek, the lead Play written by Elinor Mordaunt from her book of the same name published 1933

ran 10 March to 15 April 1939 Queen Mary attended Friday 14 April 1939 [The Times 18 March 1939]

1941–42 Whiteoaks Theatre Royal, Bath and Comedy Theatre, London
1943 Vintage Wine Grand Theatre, Blackpool Madame Popinot
1943–44 John Gabriel Borkman The Playhouse Theatre, Liverpool
1944–45 Lisa The Playhouse Theatre, Liverpool
1950 The Orange Orchard New Lindsey Theatre, London Martha Blanchard

Film career

Having established herself as a stage actress in London's West End, Nancy's first film role was in the black and white, silent film The Lyons Mail. In the next decade she appeared in a further eight silent films before her first "talkie", The American Prisoner, which was recorded in mono sound in 1929. The last silent film in which she appeared The Price of Divorce was adapted by producer Oswald Mitchell to incorporate sound and released under the name Such is the Law.


Year Title Role Notes
1916 The Lyons Mail Janette
1921 Belphegor the Mountebank Countess de Blangy
1923 Bonnie Prince Charlie Lady Kingsburgh Appearing alongside Ivor Novello
1923 The Woman Who Obeyed Governess
1923 Comin' Thro' the Rye Mrs. Titmouse
1923 Love, Life and Laughter Balloon blowers wife's friend
1927 Huntingtower Mrs. Moran Based on novel by John Buchan
1928 His House in Order Lady Ridgeley Silent film which is believed lost.[11]
1928 The Price of Divorce released as Such is the Law
1929 The American Prisoner Lovey Lee
1930 The Loves of Robert Burns Posie Nancy
1930 Such Is the Law Aunt
1931 The Speckled Band Mrs. Staunton Early Sherlock Holmes film
1932 Down Our Street Annie Collins
1934 The Crucifix Miss Bryany
1939 The Stars Look Down Martha Fenwick Adapted by A.J.Cronin
1940 Dead Man's Shoes Madame Pelletier Roddy McDowell in an early role
1942 Secret Mission Violette, housekeeper
1944 Madonna of the Seven Moons Mama Barucci Produced by Gainsborough Pictures
1945 I Know Where I'm Going! Mrs. Crozier Petula Clark in an early role
1945 I Live in Grosvenor Square Mrs. Wilson
1946 Carnival Mrs. Trewhella
1947 Master of Bankdam Lydia Crowther Nicholas Parsons in a minor role
1948 The Three Weird Sisters Gertrude Morgan-Vaughan Screenplay co-written by Dylan Thomas
1950 The Naked Heart Theresa Suprenant Film also known as Maria Chapdelaine
1952 Mandy Jane Ellis Distributed by Ealing Studios

Television filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1938 Will Shakespeare Queen Elizabeth BBC production
1948 Nurse Cavell Edith Cavell BBC production
1949 Down Our Street Annie Collins BBC production
1950 The Silver Box Mrs.Jones BBC production based on a play by John Galsworthy
1950 Thérèse Raquin Madame Raquin BBC production based on novel Thérèse Raquin by Émile Zola
1950 The Orange Orchard Martha Blanchard BBC production
1951 Whiteoaks Grandma Adeline Whiteoak BBC production

Radio broadcasting

Year Title Role Notes
1951 The Life That I Gave Him Donn'Anna Luna BBC production. From the play La vita che ti diedi, 1923, by Luigi Pirandello. Translated by Clifford Bax. Adapted for broadcasting and produced by Mary Hope Allen




  • Hurdy-Gurdy (London : Frederick Muller, 1944)


  • Ta-mera (London : Hutchinson & Co., 1950)

Essays, memoires and diaries

  • Behind the Night-Light: the by-world of a child of three. Described by Joan Maude and faithfully recorded by Nancy Price (London : John Murray, 1912)
  • Vagabond's Way. Haphazard wanderings on the fells ... With illustrations by A.S. Hartrick (London : John Murray, 1914)
  • Shadows on the Hills, etc. On the English Lake District. With plates (London : Victor Gollancz, 1935)
  • The Gull's Way. An account of a cruise along the East Coast of England (London : Victor Gollancz, 1937)
  • Nettles and Docks, etc. Essays (London : G. Allen & Unwin, 1940)
  • Jack by the Hedge, etc. Sketches of country life (London : Frederick Muller, 1942)
  • I had a Comrade "Buddy" On the author's dog (London : G. Allen & Unwin, 1944)
  • Tails and Tales. On dogs (London : Victor Gollancz, 1945)
  • Where the Skies Unfold, etc. Essays (Birmingham : George Ronald, 1947)
  • Wonder of Wings. A book about birds (London : Victor Gollancz, 1947)
  • Acquainted with the Night. A book of dreams (Illustrated by Michael Rothenstein, Oxford : George Ronald, 1949)
  • Bright Pinions. On parrots (Oxford : George Ronald, 1952)
  • Feathered Outlaws (London & Worthing : Henry E. Walter, 1953)
  • In Praise of Trees. An anthology for friends (London : Frederick Muller, 1953)
  • Into an Hour-Glass. An autobiography (London : Museum Press, 1953)
  • Pagan's Progress. High days and holy days (London : Museum Press, 1954)
  • The Heart of a Vagabond. On country life in Sussex (London : Museum Press, 1955)
  • I watch and listen. A book mainly concerned with the courtship and song of birds (London : Bodley Head, 1957)
  • Winged Builders. A book of bird lore, chiefly concerned with the nesting, building and family habits of British birds (London : George Ronald, 1959)
  • Each in his own way! Personalities I have valued, selected from my album of memories ... Woodcuts by William Wood (London : Frederick Muller, 1960)


  1. ^ "Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia". Retrieved 23 November 2015.
  2. ^ Margot and Nancy Archived 20 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Hartnoll, Phyllis; Peter Found (1992). The Concise Oxford companion to the theatre. Oxford University Press. p. 392. ISBN 978-0-19-866136-8.
  4. ^ Price, Nancy (1953). Into An Hour Glass. London: Museum Press. p. 185.
  5. ^ J.T. Grein (2010). Dramatic Criticism (Volume 5). London: General Books LLC. ISBN 978-1-153-97084-6.
  6. ^ The Fortune Theatre, Russell Street, London, WC2.
  7. ^ Stanton, Sarah; Martin Banham (1996). Cambridge paperback guide to theatre. Cambridge University Press. p. 282. ISBN 978-0-521-44654-9. Retrieved 10 September 2011.
  8. ^ Gale, Maggie Barbara. (1996). West End women: women and the London stage, 1918–1962. Routledge. p. 64. ISBN 0-415-08495-4. Retrieved 10 September 2011.
  9. ^ "No. 38929". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 June 1950. pp. 2785–2785.
  10. ^ [1][dead link]
  11. ^ Lobenthal, Joel (2004). Tallulah: the life and times of a leading lady. HarperCollins. p. 130. ISBN 0-06-039435-8.

External links

This page was last edited on 18 January 2024, at 01:32
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