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Source: Australian Variety Theatre Archive
William Anderson William Anderson i(A103566 works by)
Also writes as: Anson Grave
Born: Established: 14 Jan 1868 Bendigo, Bendigo area, Ballarat - Bendigo area, Victoria, ; Died: Ceased: 16 Aug 1940 Melbourne, Victoria,
Gender: Male
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Forced to leave school at age ten, William Anderson had by age 25 established himself as an emerging entrepreneur in regional Victoria. After several years as business manager for Charles Holloway he took over the company in 1898. Renamed William Anderson's Famous Dramatic Organisation, its principal female actor was his new wife, Eugenie Duggan. Within a short period of time Anderson established two permanent companies - one alternating between Sydney and Melbourne, and the other touring throughout the remainder of Australia and New Zealand. He expanded his interests beyond the stage in 1906 by opening Wonderland City, a fun-park situated near Bondi Beach. Two years later he built the King's Theatre in Melbourne, with that venue becoming central to the success of his theatrical operations over the next three years - particularly with the engagement of English actor Roy Redgrave in 1909.

In 1910 Anderson entered the motion picture business, producing film versions of The Squatter's Daughter and The Christian, and also collaborated on the writing of two melodramas - The Winning Ticket, (with Temple Harrison) and By Wireless Telegraphy (with Roy Redgrave - jointly credited as Anson Grave). With Wonderland City creating a huge drain on his finances, Anderson was forced to close it down in 1911. Although almost ruined, he managed to retain ownership of the King's Theatre through until 1915, but was forced to lease it out to other concerns from 1912. The first of these was the theatrical venture headed by Edmund Duggan and Bert Bailey.

From around 1916 through until the late 1920s Anderson was largely based in Adelaide, producing seasons of drama, variety and pantomime at venues such as the Theatre Royal, Tivoli and the Prince of Wales. He also continued to make forays into other cities, particularly Sydney and Melbourne, with pantomime. He and his wife returned to live Melbourne in the early to mid-1930s, with one of the last shows to bear his name as producer being the 1939 Charles Wenman-directed 1939 pantomime Sinbad the Sailor. Anderson died in 1940, almost a year after his wife.

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Last amended 12 May 2014 07:33:41
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