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Courtesy of the Fryer Library (Nat Phillips Collection)
Benjamin John Fuller Benjamin John Fuller i(A89718 works by) (a.k.a. Sir Benjamin Fuller)
Born: Established: 20 Mar 1875 London,
United Kingdom (UK),
Western Europe, Europe,
; Died: Ceased: 10 Mar 1952
Gender: Male
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The son of entertainer and theatrical entrepreneur, John Fuller Snr, Sir Benjamin John Fuller, appeared in juvenile productions in London and the English provinces, while also at one stage working at weekends his father's minstrel troupe. He later toured as Harry Liston's dresser and toured with a minstrel troupe (as a comedian and musician) before joining his family in Australia. In 1894 the Fullers moved to New Zealand where they established their own concert party. Over the next four or five years Ben and his brother John played an increasing role in the management of the family's theatrical enterprise, which eventually expanded into a circuit and by 1907 was also involving film exhibition.

In 1912 Benjamin and John established a permanent base of operations in Australia by buying out James Brennan's circuit. Trading as John Fuller and Sons (but more commonly known as Fullers' Theatres), the company established a vaudeville empire on both sides of the Tasman. Among the best remembered performers to have been associated with the Fullers were: 'Stiffy and Mo' (Nat Phillips and Roy Rene), George Wallace, Jim Gerald, Bert Le Blanc, Amy Rochelle, Nellie Kolle, and Mike Connors and Queenie Paul

Awarded a knighthood in 1921 for his funding of scholarships and other charity activities, he made an unsuccessful bid for parliament in 1922, and then in 1923 helped orchestrate a partnership with Hugh J. Ward to produce musical comedies. Although he and John were closely involved in helping found the Australian Broadcasting Company in 1929, within four years they decided to go their separate ways. After dividing their assets Sir Benjamin retained control of Fullers Theatres but sold off his New Zealand interests.

Fuller's attempt to establish a permanent Australian opera company failed, but didn't dampen his enthusiasm for 'legitimate' theatre, and hence in 1939 he joined forces with Garnet Carroll which led to the founding of the Carroll-Fuller Theatre Company. He died in London in 1952.

Most Referenced Works


  • Entries connected with this record have been sourced from on-going historical research into Australian popular theatre being conducted by Dr Clay Djubal.
Last amended 30 Apr 2014 08:11:28
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