Harriett Everard as Little Buttercup in H.M.S. Pinafore

Harriett Everard (1877-80)

[Born Marylebone, London 12 Mar 1844, died London 22 Feb 1882]

Harriett Emily Everard, born Harriette Emily Woollams, made her first appearance on the stage at the Theatre Royal, Exeter, in 1860, and for years performed in light opera, burlesque, pantomime, and comedy in London and the provinces.Before joining the D'Oyly Carte at the Opera Comique she appeared at the Royal Alfred, the Queen's (where her roles included the Marchioness of Birkenfelt in W. S. Gilbert's La Vivandière), the Royalty, the St. James's, the Princess's, Covent Garden, Drury Lane, Charing Cross, and Haymarket Theatres, among other venues in London.

In November 1877 she created the role of Mrs. Partlett in The Sorcerer when that opera premiered at the Opera Comique.In February 1878 James Albery and Alfred Cellier's The Spectre Knight received its premiere as The Sorcerer's new companion piece, and Miss Everard was in the cast as the First Lady-in-Waiting.She next created the role of Little Buttercup when H.M.S. Pinafore opened in May 1878, playing the Portsmouth bumboat woman for the duration of the run, until February 1880.

She was rehearsing the part of Ruth for the next opera, The Pirates of Penzance, when tragedy struck. Rutland Barrington describes what happened: "She was standing in the centre of the stage at rehearsal one morning, when I noticed the front piece of a stack of scenery falling forward. I called to her to run, and got my back against the falling wing and broke its force to a great extent, but it nevertheless caught her on the head, taking off a square of hair as neatly as if done with a razor. The shock and injury laid her up for some time"

Miss Everard missed the April 3, 1880, opening of Pirates, her place taken at the last minute by Emily Cross.Although Miss Everard was able to assume the part in June, it did not last long, and she yielded Ruth to Alice Barnett in July when Carte's New York Pirates cast returned to England.

Harriett Everard left the D'Oyly Carte at that point, and it seems she never fully recovered from her injury, for she died less than two years later.She did make at least one more appearance on the London Stage:as Aunt Priscilla in Frederick Marshall's comic opera Lola (Olympic Theatre, January 1881).

Page modified July 29, 2008 © 2001-08 David Stone