Francis Drake - Basil Sydney
Martin Frobisher - Ballard Berkeley
Walter Raleigh - John Gielgud
Lord Howard of Effingham - Owen Nares
Don Guerau - Bernard Lee
John Doughty - Franklin Dyall
Thomas Doughty - Cyril Raymond
Tom Moore - Gordon Harker
Gregory - Ralph Roberts
Doidge - Charles Mortimer
Don Pedro - Norman Wooland
Page - Frank Lawton
Lord Burghley - CV France
Christopher Hatton - David Tree
From the Birmingham Daily Gazette of 28 March, 1939.
A DRAKE PLAY
Lord Cromer, president of the fund, the Countess of Birkenhead, who took a great part in organising the show, and Sir Oswald Stoll received the Royal party, and Lord Cromer sat with them in the Royal box. The Queen was in plum-pink, and Princess Elizabeth was in pink as well. The historical play "Drake”, in which 200 well-known actors and actresses took part, specially interested Princess Elizabeth—perhaps bringing to life for her some of her schoolroom history lessons. A total of £3,500 was raised the matinee, and .Mr. Leslie Henson auctioned from the stage the original programme cover, designed by Dame Laura Knight, and obtained for it. The money realised by the performance will be devoted to providing pensions for actors and actresses, some of them leading stars in their day, who have fallen upon bad times.
From The Western Morning News of 28 March, 1939.
ROYAL MATINEE OF "DRAKE"
Stage Celebrities At London Coliseum
PLYMOUTH SHOWN IN THREE SCENES
Audience Applauds Raleigh's Exhortation By A London Staff Reporter.
The King and Queen, with Princess Elizabeth, drove yesterday afternoon to the London Coliseum for a matinee on behalf of King George's Pension Fund for Actors and Actresses. I learn that £3,500 will accrue from the performance at the Coliseum for the fund. The presence of the Princess Elizabeth was unexpected even to the organizers of the performance. The programme provided a constellation of stage celebrities, and many whose names are known in the leading parts of current and past plays at different theatres were content yesterday with a " walking on" part to demonstrate their keen interest in the welfare of those of their profession who have fallen upon evil days.
LINES OF LOYALTY
Miss Neilson-Terry Takes Original Part
The principal item was the revival of the abridged version of the pageant play "Drake". To those of the present decade the drama may not be familiar, but to those of pre-war days its magnificent lines of loyalty to the English throne in the days of Queen Elizabeth are well known. First staged in 1912. "Drake" had successful run with Phyllis Neilson-Terry in the title role of Queen Elizabeth. During the first days of the war period it was revived, with Miss Neilson-Terry again taking the part of the Queen and the late Sir Henry Tree as Drake. Yesterday Miss Neilson-Terry again took her original part as Queen Elizabeth. Her performance was magnificent. Drake was in the hands of Basil Sydney. He interpreted the character of the hero of the great naval drama which ended in the defeat of the Spanish Armada with an energy and a daring which characterized the buoyancy of inspired youth of today. He sometimes rather over-shadowed the regality of the Queen. John Gielgud. whose interpretative art has brought him to the foremost in current drama, was splendid as Sir Walter Ralegh.
BOWLS THE HOE.
But with such celebrities as Owen Nares as Lord Howard Effingham, Frank Lawton as a page, C. V. France as Lord Burghley, Gordon Harker as Tom Moore, Irene Yanbrugh (a native of Exeter) as Lady Lennox, Margaretta Scott as the beautiful Elizabeth Sydenham, and Eve Moore as Dame Sydenham, it is invidious to individualize. Those of the huge audience acquainted with Plymouth and the famous Hoe found plenty of material to remind them of their visits, for three of the scenes depicted parts of that city. The second scene was the quay at Plymouth, while Drake's garden, and Plymouth Hoe, where the famous game of bowls was in progress when the Spanish fleet was sighted, were delightfully shown in accordance with pictures existing in the several picture galleries of the city of former days.
The piece consisted of eight scenes, and the last, the "Thanking at St. Paul's Cathedral," brought a remarkable array of talent on to the stage, as well as the enactment of an incident, which at the present moment was regarded as particularly appropriate. Gielgud made full use of the opportunity when reciting Raleigh's exhortation of 350 years ago: "Hitherto we have been too much afraid. Henceforth we will fear only God." The lines were loudly cheered in all parts of the house by those who obviously thought that the spirit Raleigh should animate those in control of the position today. The programme opened with the prologue from "Pagliacci," and was followed by a delightful sketch, "The Little Father of the Wilderness."
Jack Hulbert and Cicely Courtneidge evoked hearty laughter with their wit and song. Miss Courtneidge also gave a turn with the Hulbert Girls from the Palace Theatre. For the first time performances by various troupes of dancers were incorporated in the programme. The King and Queen were warm in their high appreciation of the programme, and expressed their delight to Earl Cromer, the president of the fund, on leaving. "It is most wonderful and most magnificent," Her Majesty said. "Sometimes it brought a lump to throat, so realistic were the scenes. It (Drake) was most beautifully staged."