Thom's Irish Who's Who/Rea, William J.


REA, William J., Actor. Educ. in Belfast; was formerly apprenticed to a firm of solicitors; made his first appearance on the stage at the Prince's Theatre, Llandudno, 22nd May, 1907, as De Brizac in "The New Boy," and made his first appearance in London at the New Theatre, 28th Nov., 1907, as Mr. Stubber in the same play; during 1908 toured in "The Fortunes of Fan"; toured in the provinces for some years in melodrama, under the management of Henry Chattell, Walter Howard, etc., appeared in variety theatres for ten months, in various sketches; also played "stock" seasons at Brighton, Devonport, and Northampton, and two-and-a-half years with the Percy-Graeme Repertory Company; joined the company of the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, and during 1915-20, played over sixty different parts; chief among which may be mentioned Sir Paddy Cullen in "The Doctor's Dilemma," Gaffer Pearce in "Nan," Petruchio in "The Taming of the Shrew',, Malvolio in "Twelfth Night," Dr. Caius in "The Merry Wives of Windsor," Sir Epicure Mammon in "The Alchemist," The Prior in "The Cloister," and Abraham Lincoln in the play of that name; played the part for the first time at the Repertory Theatre, Birmingham, 12th October, 1918; the play was produced at the Lyric, Hammersmith, on 19th Feb., 1919, and ran without a break until 21st Feb., 1920: Feb., 1920 appeared as John Ferguson in the play of that name, and April, 1920, as the Duke and Frederick in "As You Like It": also appeared at the same theatre, Nov., 1919, as Bosola in "The Duchess of Malfi," with the Phœnix Society; during 1920-1 toured the provinces in "Abraham Lincoln"; son of Alexander Rea, and Marianna, dau. of —— Ward, of Belfast; b. 1884; m. Annie Edwards Byrne, Res.: 8 Delamere Street, Paddington, London, W.2.