Muriel’s Tasmania! Theatre and Democracy Mingle on the Apple Isle

The Muriel Matters Society’s Secretary, Frances Bedford, recently visited Tasmania on a whirlwind trip to promote the soon to be published monograph. She shared Muriel’s story with the Speaker of the Tasmanian House of Assembly, Hon. Sue Hickey MP, as well as the President of the Legislative Council, Hon. Craig Farrell MLC. Frances even had the opportunity to meet the Tasmanian Governor, H.E. Professor Kate Warner AC, and present her with Muriel Matters Society 125 Ephemera. Local members of the Tasmanian Chapter of The Society, Yvonne and Ralph, caught up with Frances while she was in Hobart. Along with Michael who was unable to be at the meeting, all shared an enthusiasm for promoting Muriel, the value of the vote and democracy, and for women’s involvement in politics more generally.

While there Frances spoke with Ralph and Yvonne about the poster collection from the Theatre Royal held in the State Library of Tasmania in Hobart. This is the only location holding a full set of Brough and Rignold theatrical posters. This was all thanks to the diligent manager, J.W.B. Murphy, who kept the material which eventually went to the State Library. Due to either fires or carelessness, most of the ephemera relating to other Brough/Rignold Australian theatres was not lucky enough to survive!!

Further research reveals that Muriel, in her role as a thespian, spent some time on the Apple Isle in December 1900 and January 1901 as part of a cast of characters supporting the farewell tour of the then well-known British-Australian actor George Rignold. They performed a number of productions while on tour. Muriel played Mrs Proverb in ‘My Partner’; Mary Vaughan in ‘Called Back’; Maria in ‘Confusion’ and; ‘the lad Ned Doyle’ in ‘Man to Man’. The Rignold Theatre Company played The Academy of Music in Launceston and the Theatre Royal in Hobart while briefly playing in Beaconsfield (site of the mine disaster in 2006) between those locations. Muriel was also a member of the cast in ‘The Flying Scud’ that played to Hobart audiences in late January 1901.

If you have any additional information about Muriel’s time in Tasmania please let us know!

Frances, Ralph, and Yvonne
Hobart’s Theatre Royal and Launceston’s Academy of Music where the shows were held