Herbert Beerbohm Tree

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Tree, Herbert Beerbohm


Born Dec. 17, 1853, in London; died there July 2, 1917. English actor, manager, and producer.

Tree’s professional stage career began in 1876. He managed the Haymarket Theater from 1887 to 1896 and Her Majesty’s (later His Majesty’s) Theater from 1897 to 1915. Between 1888 and 1914 he staged 18 Shakespearean plays. As a producer, Tree continued the traditions of C. Kean and H. Irving. He staged visually spectacular productions, often including scenes of the fan :tastic or supernatural, musical numbers, and arias. He staged crowd scenes with particular care. Tree could be quite free in dealing with a written text, rearranging or omitting entire scenes.

Tree’s Shakespearean roles included Malvolio in Twelfth Night, Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Macbeth, Richard II, and Hamlet. He also played Nekhliudov in a dramatic version of Tolstoy’s Resurrection and Henry Higgins in Shaw’s Pygmalion. Tree founded a school of dramatic art in 1904 in London that later became the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.


Thoughts and Afterthoughts. London, 1913.


Beerbohm, M. Herbert Beerbohm Tree: Some Memories of Him and of His Art. London [1920].
Pearson, H. Beerbohm Tree: His Life and Laughter. London, 1956.


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Achurch played under the management of Beerbohm Tree at the very start of his venture as an actor-manager, acting in six plays of which three were major productions.
We have then an examination of Du Maurier's Svengali as played by Beerbohm Tree in Trilby (1895) and of Irving's unsuccessful The Medicine Man (1898).
Most of them have a direct biographical bearing (there is a superb double portrait of a dapper Beerbohm and his bulky half-brother, the actor Beerbohm Tree, for instance), but he permits himself a few general caricatures as well.
Now, I confess that I take perverse delight in what might be called un-self-conscious theater: Beerbohm Tree and Augustin Daly, Donald Wolfit, the neo-Victorian Cedric Messina seasons of the BBC Shakespeare, and Kenneth Branagh's childish picture-book Shakespeare films.
Forever remembered for his Oscar-nominated performance as Captain Louis Renault in Casablanca (1942), the actor-manager Beerbohm Tree paid for his elocution lessons to overcome his harsh Cockney accent.
PLAYWRIGHT George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion opened in London at His Majesty's Theatre and starred Mrs Patrick Campbell as Cockney flower girl Eliza and Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree as Professor Higgins.
With those words, no doubt spoken with the solemn grandeur that all Edwardian actor-managers possessed, the legendary Herbert Beerbohm Tree marked the opening of the New Theatre.
Actor-manager Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree played Higgins in Pygmalion and also directed the production, which opened at His Majesty's Theatre on April 11, 1914.
The first theatre at the current site was built by Herbert Beerbohm Tree in 1897 while the task of designing was undertaken by Charles J.
Also on display in the same room used by BMI's administrator, is a sketch signed by its subject, the English actor and theatre manager Mr H Beerbohm Tree (1852-1917) who had been playing Hamlet.
The first is the actor-manager Herbert Beerbohm Tree, who produced and starred in elaborately mounted revivals of Shakespeare's plays in the West End.
1914 George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion opened in London with Mrs Patrick Campbell as Eliza Doolittle and Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree as Professor Higgins.