THE GOLDEN AGE OF BRITISH THEATRE (1880-1920)
by Sydney Higgins
|(postcard, gloss, Rotophot, 0458, c. 1906)|
Louisa Emma Amelia "Louie" Pounds was born on February 12, 1872 in Brompton, London. Her first professional engagement was in 1890 when she joined a provincial tour, managed by the impresario, George Edwardes. The following year, she made her London debut in Joan of Arc at the Opera Comique. For the next decade, she worked continuously in a string of theatres and in 1895 was on tour in America.
In 1899, when she was performing at The Crystal Palace, she was invited by Arthur Sullivan to participate in the next D'Oyly Carte Opera Company season at the Savoy Theatre. Her brother Courtice and three of her sisters - Lily, Nancy, and Rosy also appeared with the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company.
At the Savoy in 1899, Louie Pounds created to character of Heart's Desire in The Rose of Persia and played the leading role in Pretty Polly. Now a regular member of D'Oyly Carte, Louie Pounds's important roles included Molly O'Grady in The Emerald Isle (1901), Jill-all-alone in Merrie England (1902) and Joy Jellicoe in A Princess of Kensington (1903). Shortly after this production, the company left the Savoy Theatre and Louie Pounds left the company.
In 1906, with her brother, Courtice Pounds, she appeared in the enormous success, The Belle of Mayfair, at the Strand Theatre. A review in The Daily Graphic of December 24, 1906, describes a Harlequinade scene in the musical comedy:
The stage ... grows dark, and Miss Louie Pounds then enters as a charming fairy Queen. In a trice she introduces the whole Christmas crowd. The scene changes to the regulation street with a butcher's shop contiguous to a milliner's, and the fun becomes uproarious. One and all enter into the spirit of the thing, as though they had played naught but pantomime all their lives. Miss Burke is a very pretty columbine, Mr. Arthur Williams is a delightful clown, and Mr. Sam Walsh a perfect pantaloon. They steal sausages with all the old zest and tremble before the majesty of the law in the person of Mr. Courtice Pounds, who is a beautifully portentous policeman.
|Louie Pounds in The Belle of Mayfair (1906)|
According to another reviewer of The Belle of Mayfair : 'Miss Louie Pounds has never been seen to better advantage. She looks a typical English girl, and her singing of "And the weeping willow wept" is quite inimitably artistic.'
Later, in 1909, she again performed with her brother, in The Dashing Little Duke. Her successes continued, appearing on Broadway later that year in The Dollar Princess and then touring South Africa.
After a long and successful career she decided to retire in 1923 - the year in which this advertisement for a dress-designer appeared.
Louie Pounds returned to the stage in 1926 and continued touring for another three years. In 1928, she appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's film, The Farmer's Wife.
Pounds also wrote an article, "Memories of an Earlier Iolanthe," that appeared in the March 1931 issue of The Gilbert & Sullivan Journal.
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