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John Nickinson Made his first dramatic appearance (as an amateur) in Quebec, while still in the British army.  Daughter Charlotte Nickinson was born in Quebec in 1832. After leaving the army in 1835 Nickinson acted at the Theatre Royal, Montreal.

Mary Shortt documented John Nickinson's "ill-fated season in Montreal in the summer of 1843.  Times were hard, the English-speaking population was in the minority, and previous efforts had failed, so the odds were against Nickinson from the start, even though the Montreal Gazette's reviewer (June 8, 1843) reported most enthusiastically on his performances.  On Nickinson's performance of Morgan Rattler in How to pay the rent, "Mr. Nickinson's portraiture of the warm-hearted and generous Irishman was deserving of the highest praise; and the dashes of genuine pathos which he threw into the character would have caused the tear to start had he given it time, but, hey presto, the fun began again , and we were reminded that we were sitting out a broad farce. In a word, we have seldom seen a piece of acting which has more delighted us."

And the Montreal Gazette, June 8, 1843 "The scant audience, however, did not deter Mr. Nickinson from exerting far greater powers than we had deemed him to have possessed, in the character of Monsieur Jacques, in the serious drama of that name ... We do not know that we were ever more powerfully affected than during the scene where Monsieur Jacques discovers his daughter, and his exclamation, so tender and subdued, yet so mournfully thrilling, "How like you are to your mother, " breathed the very soul of pathos. In a word, Mr. Nickinson may safely rest his dramatic reputation on his performance of  M. Jacques."  [Shortt letter Feb. 16, 1979] 

The [Charles and Anne Fairbrother] Hills were persuaded to travel north [for the 1842-1843 season] to Montreal to join their friend John Nickinson's troupe at the Theatre Royal. 21 The move marked the beginning of the most successful decade in their careers as mature artists. Mary Jane Warner, Anne Fairbrother Hill: A Chaste and Elegant Dancer, Theatre Research in Canada 12 (2) Fall 1991 http://www.lib.unb.ca/Texts/TRIC/bin/get.cgi?directory=vol12_2/&filename=Warner.htm 

QUEBEC CITY, QC – Theatre Champlain – Champlain Street near Queen’s Wharf – 1852 – John Nickinson Touring Company – put on some 20 plays in July/August 1852 - torn down 1914 http://world-theatres.com/International%20Theatres%20-%20Part%20One%20-%20Canada%20and%2...

1894   1895
previous:  Olga Nethersole

The Windsor 
Montreal 
Jany 23rd l894 

My dear daughter Neppie, 

Opened last night to a bad house - and I am afraid business for the week will not be good - sleighing and moonlight for the week is too good for people to go to theatre.

I have not been out - and have not felt cold in the house - but - this is such a beautiful house! Such thick walls! and double windows  keeps cold out.  

Our trip was tiresome.  We left Rochester at 10:30 AM Sunday, got to Albany at 5 PM, waited there, in hotel, and sleeper, until 11 PM when we were started for this place. We suffered more from heat than cold - the sleeper was kept up to Summer heat all night - and was not at all refreshing but here we are. 

I refused a sleigh ride to-day on account of my cold - was sorry to do so. The snow is not so deep here as I expected it to be - but - still there is good sleighing, and no vehicles but sleighs to be seen. These are of all shapes and sizes - and some look very funny bobbing along. 

If business increases I think we shall spend a pleasant week - but I am afraid we are not going to do well, and it is miserable to play to bad houses. 

Next week we go to Providence, RI.  Will be a little nearer to you again.  Love and Kisses to dear Teddie.  I wish he could have seen his grandma - and to my dear Albert and daughter Neppie from your loving Mother

next: Rhode Island, Feb. 1894

previous: Toronto Dec. 29, 1894
1895 

Queen's Hotel 
Windsor & St James Sts 
E.M. Mathews, Manager 
Montreal 
Jany 1st 1895 

My dear Son, daughter & Grandson, 

A Happy New Year to you all.  Sleighs are gliding along to the music of their bells and the people seem to be enjoying themselves. 

Last night Miss Nethersole & [Marcus] Mayer gave a little supper to the Company at the Windsor Hotel, and I went, and it was nearly 2 AM when I got back to this hotel.  A nice way for an old lady to begin the New Year.  To-night Miss Nethersole invites us - I think to partake of some English plum pudding sent to her from England, so I suppose it will take us into the "wee small hours of the morning" again.

We do not give a matinee today.  Miss Nethersole has recovered from her cold and is all right again.  We opened last night to a very good house and play was well received. 

The sun is just bursting forth to smile on the New Year - a happy harbinger, I hope of good luck to us all.  I have steam heat in my room, and it is turned off and I have to have the window open - on New Years day 1895.  A strange thing for this part of the world.  And I do not think it healthy.  

See by today's paper that the Delevan House in Albany was burned last night.  I have stopped there many times.  Albany needed a new hotel, but the loss of life is deplorable.  Love and Kisses to my dear children Albert Neppie and Teddie from their loving Mother

QUEEN'S HOTEL 
Montreal
Jany 2nd 1895 

My dear Son, 

Your telegram announcing such good news reached me at my dressing room last night.  And a few minutes after I rec'd a telegram from Maud [Harrison] who is in Pittsburgh, where she opened on Monday night in The Girl I Left Behind Me Co, Chas Frohman, manager.  And she made a success, although she has had a very short notice for the part.  

Then after the performance we all met in Miss Nethersole's parlor, where an elegant supper was served.  17 of us sitting down to table, the feature of the supper being an English plum pudding sent all the way from London, Eng[land] and a very delicious one it was.  So I had my good share of happiness for one day & very grateful I am for it. 

I congratulate you and Neppie on the increase of salary.  All things come to him who waits is verified in your case at last.  And having learned how to be frugal in the past, continue the practice for the future.  All's well that ends well! 

I got home from the supper at 2:25 this Morning.  Frou-Frou is the bill tonight & Friday night which lets me out.  I play the nurse [in Romeo and Juliet] tomorrow night, Sat Mat.[inee] Camille and night Transgressor.  Then off to Providence, R.I., for a week and then Harlem for a week.  Do not know where I shall stop yet but if possible I will be in Harlem.  I do not wish to climb "L" stairs at 11:45 PM and make it 12:30 before I could reach any of my downtown boarding houses. 

I think going to Harlem is a mistake anyway, at the present time, as they intend playing Olga [Nethersole] in New York after St Louis but perhaps they know best.  Love and Kisses to you dear children three, Albert, Ted & Neppie.  Mother 

Girl I Left Behind Me by Franklin Fyles, adapted by David Belasco, Feb 1893.

next; Rhode Island Jan. 1895

Last updated Jan. 22, 2005

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