BAMBURY & WHITE
(1924-1925) This short-lived, Sydney-based booking agency was formed sometime around mid-to-late 1924 by comedian/dancer Norman Bambury and James H. White, the former journalist and partner in Clay’s theatrical agency [below]. The firm is known to have booked artists for city, suburban and regional venues through until at least mid-1925. Among the biggest names to secure work through the agency were Arthur Tauchert, Louie Duggan, Slavin and Thompson, Arthur Elliott, Will Hastings, Joe Rox, Cass Mahomet, the Cracknells, D.B. O’Connor Company, George Dean, Ted Tutty, Scott and Graham, and Harry Coyle. Bambury and White also sent its own touring company, The Gay Crusaders, through Queensland in 1925. After ending partnership dissolved Bambury took over the Crusaders’ management.
Sydney suburban theatres and circuits which booked artists through Bambury and White included: Dudley Theatre (Hurlstone Park), New Theatre (Hornsby), Old Strand (Leichhardt), Palais (Croydon), Subway Theatre (Carlton), Majestic Theatre (Bankstown), the Stadium (Rushcutters Bay), and Drew’s Western circuit. Bambury and White also arranged D. B. O’Connor’s 1925 Northern New South Wales tour.
CATO & Co
(1900-ca. 1904) Tasmanian-born singer Herbert Cato opened his theatrical Agency in King Street, Sydney in August 1900. Within 12 months his roster of artists included the Delavale Brothers  (trick cyclists), James Craydon and Ted Holland, Violet Bertram, Gladys Cortroy, Frank Hawthorne, Carden Wilson, Johnson Weir (actor), Rosie Aguinaldo, and Adelina Sarina. Among the companies and troupe operators who used Cato’s services were Harry Cogill, Walter Bell, and Jennie Maynard. The agency was also appointed Australian representative for San Francisco booking agent Archie Levy. Cato’s last known advertisements were in December 1903. A 1908 Sydney Sportsman article exposing the almost non-existent success rate for Australian theatrical agencies records Cato’s name among those whose business failed (5 Feb. 1908, 8).
- See also: Herbert Cato
1: In 1902 Cato imported a huge stock of poster paper as a sideline and soon afterwards also advertised for a partner to help initiate a cinematograph venture.
2: The Delavale Brothers mentioned above should not be confused with the comedy partnership established by Ern Delavale and Ern Vockler, and also known as the Delavale Brothers).
DALTON’S VAUDEVILLE AGENCY (Sydney)
aka Dalton and Donnelly
(1910-ca. 1912) Leonard Dalton served as Secretary to the Australian Variety Artists’ Association in 1909 and 1910 before setting up his own agency in Sydney around September/October 1910. Situated at 37 Park Street, a block away from Poverty Point, the firm was briefly known as Dalton and Donnelly (possibly with Tom Donnelly) ca. November 1910 to January 1911. Over the next couple of years Dalton booked vaudeville performers for engagements in Sydney, interstate and overseas (including Noumea). His agency also acted on behalf of theatre managers such as T.V. Coyle (Charters Towers and Townsville).
Image source: Referee 8 Mar. (1911), 15.
EASTERN VAUDEVILLE AGENCY (Melbourne)
(ca. 1916-1920) 43 Eastern Arcade, 131-135 Bourke Street.
Established by former ventriloquist, turned Melbourne picture show exhibitor Frank Cane, advertisements for the Eastern Vaudeville Agency have been located in the city’s newspapers between January 1916 and June 1919. It is possible that it operated beyond those dates, however. Cane claimed to able to book suitable acts for Williamstown, Carlton, Oakleigh, Mordialloc and Sunshine, and offered, through the agency, the teaching of voice production, stage business from A-Z, juggling, ventriloquism, shadowography, dancing (including clog, buck, fancy, toe, acrobatic), singing, tumbling, balancing and acrobatics. A room for rehearsals was also available. Advertising indicated that consideration to amateurs would be given.
- See also: Frank Cane
Image source: Age 23 Mar. (1918), 18.
HARRY CLAY’S THEATRICAL ENTERPRISES AND BOOKING OFFICES (Sydney)
(1916-ca.1922) Harry Clay set up his own booking agency in 1916 as a means of dealing with the increasing number of performers looking for engagements. More commonly referred to as Clay’s Agency, the venture was managed by James H. White (aka “Whitie”), a journalist who was closely associated with both the Hawklet and Australian Variety. The agency is believed to have continued under the auspices of Clay until his stroke in 1922. Under White’s ownership it became known as the Australasian Theatrical Bureau.
LASHWOOD & ROYLEY’S STAR VAUDEVILLE AGENCY (Sydney)
aka Joe Lashwood Agency
(1916-ca. 1917) In late 1915 or early 1916 Joe Lashwood and James H. White opened up their own vaudeville agency in Bathurst Street, Sydney but the partnership did not last long. By March Lashwood and Royley’s Star Vaudeville Agency (Pitt Street) was in operation, providing artists in Goulburn (Eslick’s Palladium, the Tivoli, and Majestic Theatre), Sydney (Rozelle and Mascot), and in Gosford. One of the biggest names to be secured was Maud Fanning. Lashwood appears to have gone solo by August, also having moved to Market Street. The agency is believed to have folded the following year.
- See also: Joe Lashwood
James H. White (aka “Whitey”) joined forces with Harry Clay in August 1916 to found Harry Clay’s Theatrical Enterprises. He later ran the White-Cane Agency with Frank Cane [see below] and Bambury and White with Norman Bambury [above].
Image source: Australian Variety 12 Apr. (1916), n. pag.
LASHWOOD & WHITE THEATRICAL AGENCY (Sydney)
(ca. 1915-1916) This short-lived agency was established by Joe Lashwood and James H. White sometime around late-1915 or earlier 1916. The partnership appears to have dissolved by March 1916 when Lashwood co-founded Lashwood and Royley’s Star Vaudeville Agency. Later that same year White joined forces with Harry Clay to establish Harry Clay’s Theatrical Enterprises [above].
WHITE-CANE AGENCY (Sydney)
(ca. 1922-1923) Although little is currently known about the White-Cane booking agency, it is believed to have been founded sometime in 1922 by ex-Melbourne-based performer/film exhibitor and vaudeville agent Frank Cane and James H. White (formerly a partner in Harry Clay’s Theatrical Agency [above]). Cane had moved to Sydney in 1920. The partnership was likely dissolved in mid-1923 when Cane accepted a 12 months engagement to tour New Zealand.