May Allen
January 19, 2023
Grave panel reads In loving memory of A dear mother and father. Mazzarina Emily Chute Died 27th March 1878 Aged 53 Year. And James Henry Chute Died 23rd July 1878 Aged 58 years. They rest from their Labours
Mazzarina Emily Chute
January 19, 2023
May AllenTheatre owner1810 to 1878
January 19, 2023
Grave panel reads In loving memory of A dear mother and father. Mazzarina Emily Chute Died 27th March 1878 Aged 53 Year. And James Henry Chute Died 23rd July 1878 Aged 58 years. They rest from their Labours
Mazzarina Emily ChuteTheatre owner1810 to 1878
January 19, 2023

Early Life

Not much is known about James' early life but in 1841 he moved to Bristol.

He entered the Bristol theatre scene, and met his to-be wife Mazzarina Emily Chute although her parents did not approve of the match.

Once married to Mazzarina Emily Chute in 1844, James fathered nine children:

  • William Macready Chute (1845-?)
  • Henry Macready Chute (1849-1927)
  • George Macready Chute (1851-1888)
  • Stephen Macready Chute (1852-1899)
  • Julia Merrington Chute (1854-?)
  • Charles Kean Chute (1858-?)
  • James Macready Chute
  • Ellen Maud Chute (1863-?)
  • Christine Chute

Bristol Old Vic Theatre manager

Eventually Mazzarina's parents forgave the couple for eloping and they worked in the Macready's businesses. In 1852, James became the manager of Bristol Old Vic Theatre and spent his time in this role gaining financial capital from wealthy patrons and developing shows that surround the theme of social equality.

These shows included Uncle Tom’s Cabin and It’s Never Too Late to Mend.

Adapted Uncle Tom's Cabin

Uncle Tom’s Cabin was a show in Bristol adapted from the 1852 novel written by Harriet Beacher Stowe. The story, following the story of an enslaved person in America, adapted onto the stage very well and was on the stage for about thirty years.

After James had removed Uncle Tom’s Cabin from the Bristol stage, he presented a stage adaption of the 1856 novel written by Charles Reade entitled It’s Never Too Late to Mend. This story also approached social issues at the time, and explored the ideas surrounding prison reform.

Due to his success in theatre management at Bristol Old Vic, James was able to gather enough money to build the ‘New Theatre Royal’, which was ‘later known as the “Princes Theatre”, on Park Row’.

Tragedy in the Prince's theatre

On 27 December 1869 18 people, mostly children, were killed in a crush as they tried to get into the theatre for a pantomime performance of Robinson Crusoe. As those at the front fell those pushing forward from behind walked over them without realising it. Chute and his wife helped to lay out the bodies of those killed in the lower refreshment rooms. With great presence of mind Chute ordered the performance to continue to avoid a panic, and none of the audience knew of the evening's tragic events until they left after the performance. The tragedy appears to have been due to the slope the theatre was built on, the layout of the theatre and no queueing system.

Death

On 23 July 1878 James Henry Chute died quite suddenly only a few months after his beloved Mazzarina.

An Obituary read -"The good old provincial school of actors and managers appears to be dying out. But amongst them all none deserves more respect or regret than Mr James Henry Chute, of the Bath and Bristol Circuit, who died last week at the age of sixty-nine. Mr Chute, whom we had the pleasure of knowing personally, was one of the few experienced, competent, liberal, and judicious directors who make themselves and their art respected. He began his career early, and was the comrade of the late Mr Compton in York. He was for a long while in Scotland and Ireland, and in 1841 joined the Bristol Company and met his future wife, Miss Macready, the sister of the great tragedian. They ran away together, but Mrs Macready seeing what a good fellow, handsome fellow, and clever actor Mr Chute was, freely forgave them. Mr Chute helped Mrs Macready in managing the theatre, and at her death became sole manager of the old, and afterwards of the new, theatre. In Bristol and Bath he was invariably liked and admired both as actor and gentleman, and his fine old face will be sorely missed by many London stars."

"The Musical World", Volume 56, August 3, 1878. Page 505

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James Chute<span class="ag_notability">Botanist and funghi Specialist</span><span class="ag_event_date"><i class="icon-calendar"></i>1807 to 1876</span>
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