Ryde Social Heritage Group research the social history of the citizens of Ryde, Isle of Wight. Documenting their lives, businesses and burial transcriptions.
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New Season at the Theatre Royal Ryde April 1874

Henry Nye Chart

The Theatre, which has been closed since the termination of the summer season last year, was opened on Monday evening by Mr. H. Nye Chart, the proprietor and manager of the Theatre Royal, Brighton, with his celebrated Brighton company and ballet group.

The performance commenced on Monday with H. J. Byron’s drama of “Blow for Blow,” a powerful piece, somewhat as our readers are aware, after the type of the “Ticket of Leave Man,” On Tuesday there was a pastoral comedy, and other pieces have been provided upon the subsequent evenings.  To the first piece succeeded a ballet divertissement, followed in its turn by what is termed in the bills a “Musical Entertainment” by Miss Lizzie Coote; the whole concluding every evening with a capital little opera-bouffe by Frank W. Green, entitled “The Shah, served up in China.”

From the above enumeration it will be seen that the management has provided a liberal programme, of which, the public has shown its due appreciation.

Mr. Nye Chart, besides being a clever actor himself, has brought with him a really capital company, which cannot fail to command the success it deserves. In “Blow by Blow,” Mr. Nye Chart takes the part of Charley Spraggs, and in “The Queensberry Fete” of Giles Fairland, in both of which he shows himself an excellent low comedian, whilst he is most ably supported by Mrs. Nellie Nye Chart in the principal female character of each piece.

“The Shah” is capital; full of clever dialogue, pretty songs and dances, and is very nicely put on the stage.  Much of the music is from “La Madame Angot.”  Miss Mabel Hayes, as Chang, sings one very pretty song with remarkable taste; but the whole company acquit themselves so well that it would be invidious to make distinctions.  The dresses of the ballet are chosen with excellent taste, notably so in the last dance where we have a kind of sailor costume which is extremely picturesque.

Little Lizzie Coote, who apparently is not more than eleven or twelve years old, sings two or three songs in character wonderfully well for such a child.  This part of the programme alone is quite worth the money; but the whole entertainment is so good that it is hoped that it may prove sufficiently remunerative to induce the management to postpone the “positively last night” for a week or two.

Note:  Actor Henry ‘Nye’ Chart of the Brighton theatre’s own company was appointed manager in 1854; he made some immediate changes to the interior with the removal of the royal box and the addition of backs to the pit benches. In 1866 Chart formed a syndicate to buy the theatre at Brighton outright, and it was then rebuilt by Charles Phipps in the summer and autumn of 1866; a conservatory was built out from the first floor over the colonnade and new galleries were added, increasing the capacity to 1,900. The Theatre Royal Brighton reopened on 15 October 1866. Chart then also started to lease 9 New Road on the other side of the Colonnade Hotel for use as a property and scenery store. Nye Chart, who died aged fifty-five on 17 June 1876, left the theatre to his wife Elizabeth ‘Nellie’ Chart; she assumed full control and managership, and further enhanced its reputation. Touring companies brought new productions to the town, and ‘morning performances’ or ‘flying matinees’ were introduced with a London company bringing their production down for a single daytime performance before returning to the capital for that evening. The theatre was also known for its pantomimes, and a free performance was given every Christmas for the workhouse inmates. In 1883 Mrs Chart purchased 9 New Road for use as her own residence, and in 1889 formed the Brighton Theatre Royal Company with Henry Infield as chairman; Infield and Mrs Chart herself acted as managing directors. The company then purchased the theatre and house from Nellie for £43,000. She died in London on 23 February 1892.

Sources: Part report IW Observer 2 May 1874 and My Brighton & Hove
Image: Wikipedia
Article: Ann Barrett