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Essays

Elsa Chauvel

Bertrand, Ina

Elsa Chauvel had strong opinions about a woman’s role in both work and life. In an interview in 1934, she explained that a woman should charm men and a wife should support her husband (28). Her own life exemplified these principles. She was born Elsie May Wilcox in 1898 in Collingwood, Victoria, Australia. She was the second child and only daughter of itinerant Irish-born actor Edward Wilcox and his wife Ada Maria (née Worrall). When Elsie was about five years old, the Wilcox family moved to South Africa. Edward Wilcox, under the stage name Silveni/Sylvaney, became the actor-manager of a touring theatrical company. From a young age, Elsie’s brother Kyrle performed under the stage name McAllister, and Elsie herself performed under the stage name Sylvaney. They began with juvenile roles, but were soon being made and dressed up to play older characters.

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Academic Units
Film
Libraries
Series
Women Film Pioneers Project
Published Here
October 15, 2019