Australian Women's Register

An initiative of The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) in conjunction with The University of Melbourne

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Tait, Viola (1911 - 2002)

Lady, AM

Born
1 November 1911
Pressburg, Austria-Hungary
Died
6 February 2002
Occupation
Author, Philanthropist, Actor and Singer

Summary

Born in Pressburg, Austria-Hungary where her father was the manager of a branch of J P Coats thread mills. The family returned to Paisley, in Scotland, with the outbreak of World War I.
She enrolled in the in the Scottish National Academy of Music in Glasgow, then studied singing under Francis Harford before joining the Carl Rosa Opera Company in 1935 and played at the London Lyceum Theatre and touring South Africa.
In 1937 she joined the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company as a principal soprano, touring the English provinces and later America. In 1939 she was invited to join the Australian Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company as a principal for a year long tour of Australia and New Zealand.
She met and married Frank (later Sir Frank) Tait, the youngest of the five Tait brothers.
Her first book A Family of Brothers provides a history of the J C Williamson's theatre enterprise and the contribution of the Tait brothers to Australian theatre. This was followed by Dames, Principal Boys…and all That: A history of Pantomine in Australia in 2001.

(Source: Farewell to a grand dame of light opera by Elisabeth Kumm and Grand lady of the stage by Philip Jones)

Archival resources

National Library of Australia

  • Interview with Viola Tait, singer (sound recording), interviewer: Michelle Potter., 7 November 1994, ORAL TRC 3166; National Library of Australia. Details

National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection

  • Tait family Papers, 1908 - 1966, MS 309; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details

Anne Heywood

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

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ISSN 2207-3124