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George Selth Coppin

In their own words

George Selth Coppin
Audio: 2 minutes

There is no position in life so likely to cultivate and encourage vanity than that of Theatrical Manager.

He is king of the little world by which he is surrounded, makes and dispenses his own laws, selects his own subjects, fixes his own prices and monopolises the best characters. If he is a bad actor and unpopular, he can put his name in large letters and fill the theatre with free admission to make it appear that he is attractive – for which he has to pay the penalty of ‘egotism’.

My great desire was to leave myself out of the ‘bill’ whenever I could – not that I dislike acting, on the contrary I used to thoroughly enjoy it – but because I think a manager has quite enough to do to look after the Treasury. It was no easy task to carry out the position of sole manager of the Theatre Royal, the Olympic Theatre and Cremorne Gardens at the same time.

The rule of my life has been to balance accounts and take stock every week. Very easily done with a ready money business.

In making the public acquainted with my checkered life, I intend to restrict myself to facts, and shall endeavour to give the opinion of others, avoiding anything approaching egotism.

My great misfortune is to neglect to keep a diary. Let me here impress upon all young people, no matter what their prospects in life might be, the great value of keeping a diary. Five or ten minutes in the morning or evening is the only trouble it would give, while the pleasure of reading it occasionally after years would fully repay you, with the chance of a history of your life becoming of financial value to your family as it no doubt would have been in my case.

Acknowledgements

Coppin, George Selth (c. 1900), The Coppin Story - typescript of the "personal early biography of George Selth Coppin from his manuscript as written out by his daughter Mrs Daisie Young", MS 3040 National Library of Australia

Attribution

Voiced by Tony Llewellyn-Jones

Related people

George Selth Coppin

Related information

Portrait of George Selth Coppin
Portrait of George Selth Coppin
Portrait of George Selth Coppin
Portrait of George Selth Coppin

The Multifarious Career of George Selth Coppin

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2004

George Selth Coppin (1819-1906) comedian, impresario and entrepreneur, was a driving force of the early Australian theatre.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

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