Oliver. is an English musical, with music and lyrics by Lionel Bart. The musical is based upon the novel Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens and it premiered in the West End in 1960, enjoying a long run, and successful long runs on Broadway and revivals, after being brought to the US by producer David Merrick in 1963. It was made into a film in 1968. Major London revivals played from 1977–80, 1994–98, 2008–11 and on tour in the UK from 2011-13, a prominent musical in British popular culture, Oliver. Received thousands of performances in British schools, particularly in the 1970s, in 1963 Lionel Bart received the Tony Award for Best Original Score. Many songs are known to the public. Oliver. was the first musical adaptation of a famous Charles Dickens work to become a stage hit, there had been two previous Dickens musicals in the 1950s, both of them television adaptations of A Christmas Carol. The musical opens in the workhouse, as the orphan boys are entering the enormous dining room for dinner. They are fed only gruel, but find some solace by imagining a richer menu, Oliver gathers up the courage to ask for more.
He is immediately apprehended and is told to gather his belongings by Mr. Bumble and the Widow Corney, Mr. Bumble and Widow Corney are left alone, and Mr. Bumble begins to make amorous advances. Mrs. Corney pretends to resent his attentions, but ends up on Mr. Bumbles lap, Mr. Bumble takes Oliver and sells him as an apprentice to an undertaker, Mr. Sowerberry. He and his wife taunt Oliver and Mr. Bumble, causing Mr. Bumble to become angry, Oliver is sent to sleep in the basement with the coffins. The next morning Noah Claypole, another employee of Sowerberry, insults Olivers dead mother, Mrs. Sowerberry and her maid, Noahs girlfriend, run in, and Mr. Bumble is sent for. He and the Sowerberrys lock Oliver in a coffin, but during all the commotion Oliver escapes, after a week on the run, he ends up in the city of London and meets a boy about his age known as the Artful Dodger. Dodger seems a kindly boy, and invites Oliver to join him, Dodger is, unknown to Oliver, a boy pickpocket, and he invites Oliver to come and live in Fagins lair.
Fagin is a criminal, now too old to thieve himself. Oliver is completely unaware of any criminality, and believes that the boys make handkerchiefs rather than steal them, Oliver is introduced to Fagin and his boys, and is taught their ways. The next day, Oliver meets Nancy, a member of Fagins gang, and the live-in wife of Fagins terrifying associate Bill Sikes
London /ˈlʌndən/ is the capital and most populous city of England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south east of the island of Great Britain and it was founded by the Romans, who named it Londinium. Londons ancient core, the City of London, largely retains its 1. 12-square-mile medieval boundaries. London is a global city in the arts, education, fashion, healthcare, professional services and development, tourism. It is crowned as the worlds largest financial centre and has the fifth- or sixth-largest metropolitan area GDP in the world, London is a world cultural capital. It is the worlds most-visited city as measured by international arrivals and has the worlds largest city airport system measured by passenger traffic, London is the worlds leading investment destination, hosting more international retailers and ultra high-net-worth individuals than any other city. Londons universities form the largest concentration of education institutes in Europe. In 2012, London became the first city to have hosted the modern Summer Olympic Games three times, London has a diverse range of people and cultures, and more than 300 languages are spoken in the region.
Its estimated mid-2015 municipal population was 8,673,713, the largest of any city in the European Union, Londons urban area is the second most populous in the EU, after Paris, with 9,787,426 inhabitants at the 2011 census. The citys metropolitan area is the most populous in the EU with 13,879,757 inhabitants, the city-region therefore has a similar land area and population to that of the New York metropolitan area. London was the worlds most populous city from around 1831 to 1925, Other famous landmarks include Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, St Pauls Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square, and The Shard. The London Underground is the oldest underground railway network in the world, the etymology of London is uncertain. It is an ancient name, found in sources from the 2nd century and it is recorded c.121 as Londinium, which points to Romano-British origin, and hand-written Roman tablets recovered in the city originating from AD 65/70-80 include the word Londinio. The earliest attempted explanation, now disregarded, is attributed to Geoffrey of Monmouth in Historia Regum Britanniae and this had it that the name originated from a supposed King Lud, who had allegedly taken over the city and named it Kaerlud.
From 1898, it was accepted that the name was of Celtic origin and meant place belonging to a man called *Londinos. The ultimate difficulty lies in reconciling the Latin form Londinium with the modern Welsh Llundain, which should demand a form *lōndinion, from earlier *loundiniom. The possibility cannot be ruled out that the Welsh name was borrowed back in from English at a date, and thus cannot be used as a basis from which to reconstruct the original name. Until 1889, the name London officially applied only to the City of London, two recent discoveries indicate probable very early settlements near the Thames in the London area
Sadler's Wells Theatre
Sadlers Wells Theatre is a performing arts venue located on Rosebery Avenue, Clerkenwell in the London Borough of Islington. The present-day theatre is the sixth on the site since 1683 and it consists of two performance spaces, a 1,500 seat main auditorium and the Lilian Baylis Studio, with extensive rehearsal rooms and technical facilities housed within the site. Sadlers Wells is renowned as one of the leading dance venues. As well as a stage for visiting companies, the theatre is a house, with a number of associated artists. Sadlers Wells is responsible for the management of the Peacock Theatre in the West End, richard Sadler opened a Musick House in 1683, the second public theatre newly opened in London after the Restoration, the first being the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. The name Sadlers Wells originates from his name and the rediscovery of monastic springs on his property and this brought the health-giving properties of the mineral waters to national attention and an aristocratic clientele was soon attracted from round the country.
In the latter half of the 18th century the theatre presented a variety of productions. With the construction of a tank, flooded from the nearby New River. The theatre presented successful adaptations of novels of the time, such as A Christmas Carol, The Old Curiosity Shop. Just as Sadlers Wells seemed at its lowest ebb, an unexpected champion arrived in the shape of the actor-manager Samuel Phelps. His advent coincided with the passing of the Theatres Act 1843 which broke the duopoly in drama of the Theatres Royal and his productions, notably of Macbeth and Cleopatra and Pericles, were much admired. The well-known actress Isabella Glyn made her first notable appearance as Lady Macbeth on this stage, in latter part of the 19th century the pendulum swung back to melodrama by the 1860s. This period of the history is affectionately depicted in Pineros play Trelawny of the Wells. The theatre was condemned as a structure in 1878. After re-opening as a theatre in 1879, it became a hall and featured performers including Marie Lloyd.
Roy Redgrave, founder of the dynasty appeared there. In 1896, the theatre was converted into a cinema, patrons were amazed by the moving pictures of the Theatregraph with film of Persimmon winning the Epsom Derby and a saucy vignette entitled The Soldier and His Sweetheart Spooning on a Seat. After a succession of managements in the 20th century, the theatre became increasingly run-down, by 1925 the proprietor of the Old Vic theatre, Lilian Baylis felt that her opera and drama productions needed to expand
Dame Helen Lydia Mirren DBE is an English actor. The Audience was written by Peter Morgan, who wrote The Queen, Gosford Park, Calendar Girls, The Last Station and The Hundred-Foot Journey. She played Victoria Winslow in the action-comedy films Red and Red 2, in 2003, she was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for Services to the Performing Arts. In 2013, Mirren was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and she was born Helen Lydia Mironoff at Queen Charlottes and Chelsea Hospital in Hammersmith, west London, the daughter of Kathleen Kitty Alexandrina Eva Matilda and Vasily Petrovich Mironoff. Her mother was English and her father was Russian, originally from Kuryanovo, Mirrens paternal grandfather, Colonel Pyotr Vasilievich Mironov, was in the Imperial Russian Army and fought in the 1904 Russo-Japanese War. He became a diplomat, and was negotiating a deal in Britain when he. The former diplomat became a London cab driver to support his family and his son, Helen Mirrens father, anglicised the family name to Mirren in the 1950s and changed his name to Basil Mirren.
He played the viola with the London Philharmonic before World War II, Mirrens mother was a working-class Londoner from West Ham, East London, and was the 13th of 14 children born to a butcher whose own father had been the butcher to Queen Victoria. Mirren considers her upbringing to have been very anti-monarchist, Mirren was the second of three children, she was born three years after her older sister and had a younger brother, Peter Basil. Mirren was brought up in Leigh-on-Sea, aged eighteen, she auditioned for the National Youth Theatre and was accepted. By the time she was 20, she was playing Cleopatra in the NYT production of Antony and Cleopatra at the Old Vic, as a result of her work for the National Youth Theatre, Mirren was invited to join the Royal Shakespeare Company. She appeared in four productions, directed by Braham Murray for Century Theatre at the University Theatre in Manchester, in 1970, the director/producer John Goldschmidt made a documentary film, Doing Her Own Thing, about Mirren during her time with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
The film was made for ATV and shown on the ITV Network in the UK and she rejoined the RSC, playing Lady Macbeth at Stratford in 1974 and at the Aldwych Theatre in 1975. According to Beauman, there were no repercussions for this rebuke of the RSC. Her performance earned her the London critics Plays & Players Best Actress award, beginning in November 1975, Mirren played in West End repertory with the Lyric Theatre Company as Nina in The Seagull and Ella in Ben Travers new farce The Bed Before Yesterday. In 1981, she returned to the Royal Court for the London premiere of Brian Friels Faith Healer, – Michael Coveney, Financial Times, April 1983. On 15 February 2013, at the West Ends Gielgud Theatre she began a turn as Elizabeth II in the World Premiere of Peter Morgans The Audience, the show was directed by Stephen Daldry. In April she was named best actress at the Olivier Awards for her role, a further stage breakthrough came in 1994, in an Yvonne Arnaud Theatre production bound for the West End, when Bill Bryden cast her as Natalya Petrovna in Ivan Turgenevs A Month in the Country
Dame Judith Olivia Dench CH DBE FRSA, known as Judi Dench, is an English actress and author. Dench made her debut in 1957 with the Old Vic Company. Over the following few years she performed in several of Shakespeares plays in such roles as Ophelia in Hamlet, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet and Lady Macbeth in Macbeth. Although most of her work during this period was in theatre, she branched into film work. She drew strong reviews for her role in the musical Cabaret in 1968. Over the next two decades, Dench established herself as one of the most significant British theatre performers, working for the National Theatre Company and the Royal Shakespeare Company. She achieved success in television during this period, in the series A Fine Romance from 1981 until 1984 and she has received the BAFTA Fellowship and the Special Olivier Award. In June 2011, she received a fellowship from the British Film Institute, Dench is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Dench was born in Heworth, North Riding of Yorkshire and her mother, Eleanora Olive, was born in Dublin, Ireland.
Her father, Reginald Arthur Dench, a doctor, was born in Dorset and moved to Dublin and he met Denchs mother while he was studying medicine at Trinity College, Dublin. Dench attended The Mount School, a Quaker independent secondary school in York and her brothers, one of whom was actor Jeffery Dench, were born in Tyldesley, Lancashire. Her niece, Emma Dench, is a Roman historian and professor previously at Birkbeck, University of London, and currently at Harvard University. In Britain, Dench has developed a reputation as one of the greatest actresses of the period, primarily through her work in theatre. She has more than once been named one in polls for Britains best actor. Through her parents, Dench had regular contact with the theatre and her father, a physician, was the GP for the York theatre, and her mother was its wardrobe mistress. Actors often stayed in the Dench household, during these years, Judi Dench was involved on a non-professional basis in the first three productions of the modern revival of the York Mystery Plays in the 1950s.
In 1957, in one of the last productions in which she appeared during this period, she played the role of the Virgin Mary, performed on a fixed stage in the Museum Gardens. Though she initially trained as a set designer, she became interested in school as her brother Jeff attended the Central School of Speech
Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev was a Russian novelist, short story writer, and playwright. Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev was born into a family of Russian land-owners in Oryol and his father, Sergei Nikolaevich Turgenev, a colonel in the Russian cavalry, was a chronic philanderer. Ivans mother, Varvara Petrovna Lutovinova, was a wealthy heiress, ivans father died when Ivan was sixteen, leaving him and his brother Nicolas to be brought up by their abusive mother. Ivans childhood was a one, in constant fear of his mother who beat him often. From 1838 until 1841 he studied philosophy, particularly Hegel, and he returned to Saint Petersburg to complete his masters examination. Turgenev was impressed with German society and returned believing that Russia could best improve itself by incorporating ideas from the Age of Enlightenment. Like many of his contemporaries, he was particularly opposed to serfdom. In 1841, Turgenev started his career in Russian civil service, when Turgenev was a child, a family serf had read to him verses from the Rossiad of Mikhail Kheraskov, a celebrated poet of the 18th century.
Turgenevs early attempts in literature and sketches gave indications of genius and were spoken of by Vissarion Belinsky. Turgenev never married, but he had affairs with his familys serfs, one of which resulted in the birth of his illegitimate daughter. He was tall and broad-shouldered, but was timid, when Turgenev was 19, while traveling on a steamboat in Germany, the boat caught fire and Turgenev reacted in a cowardly manner. Rumors circulated in Russia and followed him for his entire career and his closest literary friend was Gustave Flaubert, with whom he shared similar social and aesthetic ideas. Both rejected extremist right and left views, and carried a nonjudgmental, although rather pessimistic. His relations with Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoyevsky were often strained, unlike Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, lacked religious motives in his writings, representing the more social aspect to the reform movement. He was considered to be an agnostic, more than Dostoyevsky, at first anyway, rather despised Turgenev.
While traveling together in Paris, Tolstoy wrote in his diary and his rocky friendship with Tolstoy in 1861 wrought such animosity that Tolstoy challenged Turgenev to a duel, afterwards apologizing. The two did not speak for 17 years, but never broke family ties, Dostoyevsky parodies Turgenev in his novel The Devils through the character of the vain novelist Karmazinov, who is anxious to ingratiate himself with the radical youth. Turgenev occasionally visited England, and in 1879 the honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Law was conferred upon him by the University of Oxford, Turgenev died from spinal tumor at Bougival, near Paris, on September 3,1883
Twelfth Night, or What You Will is a comedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written around 1601–02 as a Twelfth Nights entertainment for the close of the Christmas season. The play centres on the twins Viola and Sebastian, who are separated in a shipwreck, Viola falls in love with Duke Orsino, who in turn is in love with the Countess Olivia. Upon meeting Viola, Countess Olivia falls in love with her thinking she is a man, the first recorded performance was on 2 February 1602, at Candlemas, the formal end of Christmastide in the years calendar. The play was not published until its inclusion in the 1623 First Folio, the setting of Twelfth Night, is important to the plays romantic atmosphere. Illyria was an ancient region of the Western Balkans whose coast covered the coasts of modern-day Slovenia, Croatia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and it included the city state of the Republic of Ragusa which has been proposed as the setting. Illyria may have suggested by the Roman comedy Menaechmi, the plot of which involves twins who are mistaken for each other.
Illyria is referred to as a site of pirates in Shakespeares earlier play, Henry VI, the names of most of the characters are Italian but some of the comic characters have English names. Oddly, the Illyrian lady Olivia has an English uncle, Sir Toby Belch and it has been noted that the plays setting has other English allusions such as Violas use of Westward ho. Viola is shipwrecked on the coast of Illyria and she comes ashore with the help of a captain and she loses contact with her twin brother, whom she believes to be drowned. Disguising herself as a man under the name Cesario, she enters the service of Duke Orsino through the help of the sea captain who rescues her. Duke Orsino uses Cesario as an intermediary to profess his love before Olivia. Olivia, forgetting about the seven years in his case, falls in love with Cesario, in the comic subplot, several characters conspire to make Olivias pompous steward, believe that Olivia has fallen for him. This involves Olivias uncle, Sir Toby Belch, another suitor, a silly squire named Sir Andrew Aguecheek, her servants Maria and Fabian.
Sir Toby and Sir Andrew engage themselves in drinking and revelry, thus disturbing the peace of Olivias house until late into the night, Sir Toby famously retorts, Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale. Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, and Maria are urged to plan revenge on Malvolio and they convince Malvolio that Olivia is secretly in love with him by planting a love letter, written by Maria in Olivias handwriting. It asks Malvolio to wear yellow stockings cross-gartered, to be rude to the rest of the servants, Malvolio finds the letter and reacts in surprised delight. He starts acting out the contents of the letter to show Olivia his positive response, Olivia is shocked by the changes in Malvolio and leaves him to the contrivances of his tormentors. Pretending that Malvolio is insane, they lock him up in a dark chamber, Feste visits him to mock his insanity, both disguised as a priest and as himself
West End theatre
West End theatre is a common term for mainstream professional theatre staged in the large theatres of Theatreland in and near the West End of London. Along with New York Citys Broadway theatre, West End theatre is considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world. Seeing a West End show is a common tourist activity in London, in 2013, ticket sales reached a record 14.4 million, making West End the largest English speaking audience in the world. Famous screen actors frequently appear on the London stage, helen Mirren received an award for her performance as the Queen on the West End stage, and stated, theatre is such an important part of British history and British culture. Theatre in London flourished after the English Reformation, the first permanent public playhouse, known simply as The Theatre, was constructed in 1576 in Shoreditch by James Burbage. It was soon joined by The Curtain, both are known to have been used by William Shakespeares company.
In 1599, the timber from The Theatre was moved to Southwark and these theatres were closed in 1642 due to the Puritans who would influence the interregnum of 1649. After the Restoration, two companies were licensed to perform, the Dukes Company and the Kings Company, performances were held in converted buildings, such as Lisles Tennis Court. The first West End theatre, known as Theatre Royal in Bridges Street, was designed by Thomas Killigrew and built on the site of the present Theatre Royal and it opened on 7 May 1663 and was destroyed by a fire nine years later. It was replaced by a new designed by Christopher Wren and renamed the Theatre Royal. Outside the West End, Sadlers Wells Theatre opened in Islington on 3 June 1683. Taking its name from founder Richard Sadler and monastic springs that were discovered on the property, it operated as a Musick House, with performances of opera, as it was not licensed for plays. In the West End, the Theatre Royal Haymarket opened on 29 December 1720 on a site north of its current location.
The Patent theatre companies retained their duopoly on drama well into the 19th century, by the early 19th century, music hall entertainments became popular, and presenters found a loophole in the restrictions on non-patent theatres in the genre of melodrama. Melodrama did not break the Patent Acts, as it was accompanied by music, these entertainments were presented in large halls, attached to public houses, but purpose-built theatres began to appear in the East End at Shoreditch and Whitechapel. The West End theatre district became established with the opening of small theatres and halls. South of the River Thames, the Old Vic, Waterloo Road, the next few decades saw the opening of many new theatres in the West End. It abbreviated its name three years later, the theatre building boom continued until about World War I
City of Westminster
The City of Westminster is an Inner London borough which holds city status. It occupies much of the area of Greater London including most of the West End. It is to the west of and adjoining the ancient City of London, directly to the east of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and it was created with the 1965 establishment of Greater London. Upon creation, Westminster was awarded city status, which had previously held by the smaller Metropolitan Borough of Westminster. Aside from a number of parks and open spaces, the population density of the district is high. Many sites commonly associated with London are in the borough, including St. Jamess Palace, Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, much of the borough is residential, and in 2008 it was estimated to have a population of 236,000. The local authority is Westminster City Council, the current Westminster coat of arms were given to the city by an official grant on September 2,1964. Westminster had other arms before, which had an identical to the chief in the present arms.
The symbols in the two thirds of the shield stand for former municipalities now merged with the city, Paddington. The original arms had a portcullis as the charge, which now forms the crest. The origins of the City of Westminster pre-date the Norman Conquest of England, in the mid-11th Century king Edward the Confessor began the construction of an abbey at Westminster, only the foundations of which survive today. For centuries Westminster and the City of London were geographically quite distinct, Westminster briefly became a city in 1540 when Henry VIII created the short-lived Diocese of Westminster. Following the dissolution of Westminster Abbey, a court of burgesses was formed in 1585 to govern the Westminster area, Strand, Pimlico and Hyde Park. The Westminster Metropolitan Borough was itself the result of an amalgamation which took place in 1900. Sir John Hunt O. B. E was the First Town Clerk of the City of Westminster, the boundaries of the City of Westminster today, as well as those of the other London boroughs, have remained more or less unchanged since the Act of 1963.
On 22 March 2017, a terrorist attack took place on Westminster Bridge, Bridge Street and Old Palace Yard, five people - three pedestrians, one police officer, and the attacker - died as a result of the incident. More than 50 people were injured, an investigation is ongoing by the Metropolitan Police. The city is divided into 20 wards, each electing three councillors, Westminster City Council is currently composed of 44 Conservative Party members and 16 Labour Party members
The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, often shortened to Hamlet, is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare at an uncertain date between 1599 and 1602. Set in the Kingdom of Denmark, the play dramatises the revenge Prince Hamlet is called to wreak upon his uncle, Claudius, by the ghost of Hamlets father, Claudius had murdered his own brother and seized the throne, marrying his deceased brothers widow. It has inspired many other writers—from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Charles Dickens to James Joyce and he almost certainly wrote his version of the title role for his fellow actor, Richard Burbage, the leading tragedian of Shakespeares time. In the 400 years since its inception, the role has been performed by highly acclaimed actors in each successive century. Three different early versions of the play are extant, the First Quarto, the Second Quarto, each version includes lines and entire scenes missing from the others. The plays structure and depth of characterisation have inspired much critical scrutiny, the protagonist of Hamlet is Prince Hamlet of Denmark, son of the recently deceased King Hamlet, and nephew of King Claudius, his fathers brother and successor.
Claudius hastily married King Hamlets widow, Hamlets mother, Denmark has a long-standing feud with neighboring Norway, which culminated when King Hamlet slew King Fortinbras of Norway in a battle years ago. Although Denmark defeated Norway, and the Norwegian throne fell to King Fortinbrass infirm brother, Denmark fears that an invasion led by the dead Norwegian kings son, Prince Fortinbras, is imminent. On a cold night on the ramparts of Elsinore, the Danish royal castle and they vow to tell Prince Hamlet what they have witnessed. As the court gathers the next day, while King Claudius and Queen Gertrude discuss affairs of state with their elderly adviser Polonius, after the court exits, Hamlet despairs of his fathers death and his mothers hasty remarriage. Learning of the ghost from Horatio, Hamlet resolves to see it himself, as Poloniuss son Laertes prepares to depart for a visit to France, Polonius gives him contradictory advice that culminates in the ironic maxim to thine own self be true.
Poloniuss daughter, admits her interest in Hamlet, and that night on the rampart, the ghost appears to Hamlet, telling the prince that he was murdered by Claudius and demanding that Hamlet avenge him. Hamlet agrees and the ghost vanishes, the prince confides to Horatio and the sentries that from now on he plans to put an antic disposition on and forces them to swear to keep his plans for revenge secret. Privately, however, he remains uncertain of the ghosts reliability, soon thereafter, Ophelia rushes to her father, telling him that Hamlet arrived at her door the prior night half-undressed and behaving crazily. Polonius blames love for Hamlets madness and resolves to inform Claudius, as he enters to do so, the king and queen finish welcoming Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two student acquaintances of Hamlet, to Elsinore. The royal couple has requested that the students investigate the cause of Hamlets mood, additional news requires that Polonius wait to be heard, messengers from Norway inform Claudius that the King of Norway has rebuked Prince Fortinbras for attempting to re-fight his fathers battles.
The forces that Fortinbras conscripted to march against Denmark will instead be sent against Poland, Polonius tells Claudius and Gertrude his theory regarding Hamlets behavior, and speaks to Hamlet in a hall of the castle to try to uncover more information. Hamlet feigns madness but subtly insults Polonius all the while, when Rosencrantz and Guildenstern arrive, Hamlet greets his friends warmly, but quickly discerns that they are spies
Dame Edith Mary Evans, DBE was an English actress. She was best known for her work on the stage, but appeared in films at the beginning, between 1964 and 1968, she was nominated for three Academy Awards. She created roles in two of Shaws plays, Orinthia in The Apple Cart, and Epifania in The Millionairess and was in the British premières of two others, Heartbreak House and Back to Methuselah. Evans was born in Pimlico, the daughter of Edward Evans, a civil servant in the General Post Office. She had one sibling, a brother who died at the age of four and she was educated at St Michaels Church of England School, before being apprenticed at the age of 15 in 1903 as a milliner. She commented in years that she loved the rich and beautiful materials of the craft, poel cast her as Cressida in Troilus and Cressida in London and subsequently at Stratford-upon-Avon. The critic of The Manchester Guardian found her diction inadequate, but otherwise approved, Miss Edith Evans, Evanss West End debut was in George Moores Elizabeth Cooper in 1913.
The play received poor notices, but Evans was praised, In the very part of a maid Miss Edith Evans made the success of the afternoon. She put more into her few minutes than most of our approved stars can suggest in leading parts, in January 1914 she made her professional Shakespearian debut as Gertrude in Hamlet. In 1914, at Moores instigation, Evans was given a contract by the Royalty Theatre in Soho. She played character roles in comedies, as a member of casts that included Gladys Cooper. Over the next ten years she polished her craft in a range of parts. She played in a silent film called A Welsh Singer, directed by, for the same director she acted in East is East in 1917, but thereafter made no more films for over thirty years. In 1922 she made what J T Grein in The Illustrated London News called a triumph in Alfred Sutros comedy The Laughing Lady. Nigel Playfair cast her as the strong-willed and witty heroine in his revival of Congreves Restoration comedy at the Lyric Hammersmith, the critics resorted to superlatives, he main pleasure of the evening is due to Miss Edith Evanss Millamant, a part in which she definitely arrives.
This actress imposes herself upon the audience first of all by her Rubens-like vitality and we have always known that she can fill the stage. It was delicious to hear her demand to be sole empress of her tea-table, James Agate wrote, Let me not mince matters. Miss Edith Evans is the most accomplished of living and practising English actresses, arnold Bennett noted in his journals that this Millamant was the finest comedy performance he had ever seen