Edgley International

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Clem Dawe and Eric Edgley in the 1920s

Edgley International is a theatre and concert promotions company from Australia, first started in the 1930s. It has also been known as Edgley & Dawe Attractions, Edgley Ventures, and Michael Edgley International. The company is noted for bringing to Australia many foreign acts not previously seen in the country, particularly dance companies from Russia.

Origins

English vaudeville brothers Eric Edgley and Clem Dawe were invited to Australia in 1920 by J&N Tait to appear in a production of Sinbad the Sailor at King's Theatre, Melbourne.[1] Born Eric and Clem White, they changed their names in their early years to stage names, considering that "White" was uninteresting. The partnership later toured Australia for theatre manager J. C. Williamson and played in shows including Robinson Crusoe, Love Lies and So This Is Love.[2] Eric married in 1925, was widowed in 1930 and remarried in 1940. Throughout this period he and Clem toured Australasia, the United Kingdom and South Africa, doing shows under various arrangements, and moving from performers to promoters.

In 1951 they moved to Perth, Western Australia to manage His Majesty's Theatre. They took a lease on the venue in 1954 and Clem died the following year. In 1958 the company purchased His Majesty's and undertook extensive renovation work. From the early 1960s Eric arranged tours to Australasia from Russian performing troupes including the Bolshoi Ballet, the Georgian State Dance Company and the Moscow Variety Theatre. Edgley also promoted local talent including the West Australian Ballet.

Eric died in 1967 and management of the company was taken over his then 23-year-old son Michael. The Moscow State Circus tour in 1968 attracted an audience of 1.2 million and grossed more than $7 million.[3] Russian ballet and theatre ensembles returned to Australia under the Edgley banner in 1970, 1976, 1982, 1985, 1987, and 1988.[1]

Recent years

Edgley now has broad interests in the film industry and venue management. Film productions include The Man From Snowy River (1982) and Phar Lap (1983).

The company has staged shows in Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, England and the United States.

Notable family members

  • Eric Edgley (1899-1967).[4]
  • Edna Edgley (1910-2000. née Luscombe). Dancer. Eric's second wife, married in 1940[5]
  • Clem Dawe. (?-1955)
  • Phillip Edgley (1930-1999), Eric's son by his first marriage. Stage and television performer in Western Australia. Was an early newsreader and host of TVW's first variety show called Spotlight with Rolf Harris. Spotlight premiered on TVW's opening night on 16 October 1959.
  • Michael Edgley (born 1943), entrepreneur. Son of Eric and Edna.
  • Jeni Edgley, entrepreneur and author. Former wife of Michael.
  • Gigi Edgley (born 1977), film and television actor. Daughter of Michael and Jeni.

References

  1. ^ a b "Michael Edgley International". NLA. Retrieved 17 January 2011. 
  2. ^ Craig, Terry (1996). "Edgley, Eric (1899 - 1967)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 17 January 2011. 
  3. ^ "Michael Edgley". Edgley International. Retrieved 17 January 2011. 
  4. ^ "Eric Edgley 1899-1967". Live Performance Australia. Retrieved 17 January 2011. 
  5. ^ "Edna Edgley AM 1910-2000". Live Performance Australia. Retrieved 17 January 2011. 
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