Sir Squire Bancroft (Squire Bancroft)

Sir Squire Bancroft

Actor. Theatre Manager. Born Squire White Butterfield in Rotherhithe, Southwark, London, he was educated privately in England and France. He made his stage debut in Birmingham in 1861. After a four year stint in the provinces, he made his London bow in 1865 at the Prince of Wales’s Theatre in ‘A Winning Hazard.’ It was there he met the theatre manager, Effie Marie Wilton, whom he would marry in 1867. Their partnership proved very successful, and together they began a veritable revolution in theatre management. They established a theatre company that set new standards of production and raised the status of the acting profession. They are credited with the introduction of the drawing-room comedy, introducing realism to theatre, especially in their production of T.W. Robertson’s plays, and the redesign of their theatre, eliminating the pit, or cheap seats in front of the stage, and replaced them with comfortable cushioned seats, while carpets were laid in the aisles in order to cater to a more upscale audience, as well as with introducing matinee performances. Their company is credited with laying the foundations of modern theatrical production. In 1879, the Bancrofts moved to the larger Haymarket Theatre, which they rebuilt to suit their needs. Largely retired by 1885, Bancroft was knighted in 1897. The Bancrofts collaborated on two volumes of memoirs; ‘Mr. and Mrs. Bancroft on and off the Stage’ and ‘The Bancrofts: Recollections of Sixty Years’. A collection of his reminiscences ‘Sir Squire’s Empty Chairs’ was published in 1925, a year before his death. (bio by: Iola)

Born

  • May, 14, 1841

Died

  • April, 04, 1926

Cemetery

  • Brompton Cemetery
  • England

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