Women’s History Month: Female Figures in the Grand Opera House
Since 1895 local talent both professional and amateur have been welcomed on the Grand Opera House Stage. The Warden family were very positive in their encouragement and support.
However, one of the most significant leaders of the amateur movement at this time was Gertrude Hill known as Madame Drinkwater. In 1910 she founded the Ulster Operatic Theatre Company originally named the Ulster Amateur Operatic Society. Madame Drinkwater was a regular on the Grand Opera House stage performing and producing classic operas.
Pictured above at the wedding of one of her students Eva Lawther Carroll nee McComb in 1930. Madame Drinkwater is to the right hand of the bride wearing her signature hat with purse in hand.
She was originally from Wales and was trained by Ivor Nevello’s mother, Clara Novello Davies, she toured America and won various awards for her voice. She even sung before Queen Victoria. She was dedicated to music, teaching in a studio in Wellington Place even throughout the worst of the Second World War. She received an MBE from the King and when she retired in 1946 the prime minister at the time, the Right Honourable Sir Basil Brooke gave the public presentation. Having staged various Operettas and Operas of Gilbert & Sullivan with her many pupils on the Grand Opera House stage, she never looked back.
The Ulster Operatic Company continue to perform on the Grand Opera House Stage most recently with sold-out performances of Grease and Spamalot we look forward to welcoming the company back to our newly restored auditorium in 2021. #womenshistorymonth
Photo credit: downmemorylane.me.uk