"For Generations, Theater Has Been In The Seymour Family..."

For More Than 150 Years, This Family Has Been Directing Theater In Delaware County, PA

"Our family has been involved with theater for many generations. Professional Theatre in the United States and England, Community Theatre throughout the United States, University Theater, local school district theatre, and two extraordinary theatre organizations for children: Young People's Theatre Workshop and Upper Darby Summer Stage.

"No matter what we do in life, no matter how we succeed in other endeavors, we know that with theatre as a background (and racing through our veins), we have been blessed many times over.

"So welcome to this information. We hope you enjoy theater as much as we do."


Directing Theater Is A
Family Affair

More Background

Family Heritage

The Seymour-Dolman family has been in theater for more than 150 years. 

Mrs. E. J. Phillips, (Charlie Seymour Jr's great great grand mother and Liz's great great great grandmother), was married to John Nickinson who was the actor-manager of the Royal Lyceum in Toronto. 

She was on the stage for 45 years, playing in 36 roles in 19 of Shakespeare's plays plus 63 roles in 45 plays of other authors in such cities as Toronto, Ottawa, Rochester, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis. They toured the United States with a traveling repertory company from 1858 until his death in 1864. 

During this time they had three children: Charles (1858-59), Christine Harriet Melanie (1860-1946), and Albert (1863-1948). They probably slept in trunks and were occasionally carried on stage.  

E. J. Phillips was performing with Junius Brutus Booth in Cincinnati the night that John Wilkes Booth killed Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865, and the acting company had to leave town under the protection of a covered wagon to protect their lives. 

Like his wife, John Nickinson was also a performer. He moved from London to New York in 1837 and established himself as one of the outstanding supporting actors on the New York stage. 

He appeared with Tyrone Power, Edwin Forrest, and Charlotte Cushman but was usually seen with other members of the Olympic Company. His roles ranges from Sir Peter Teszle in The School for Scandal, Peachum in The Beggar's Opera, and Havresack in Napoleon's Old Guard to the first witch in Macbeth, Crusoe in a burlesque of Robinson Crusoe, and Snigglefritz in The Imp of the Elements

A daughter from John Nickinson's first marriage, Charlotte Nickinson Morrison, became manager and star of a new Grand Opera House in Toronto in 1874. She left that, however, in 1878, and the Opera House burned in 1879. 

Christine Harriet Melanie Nickinson eventually married the son and namesake of an English-born Philadelphia actor, John Dolman, who was a member of the Chestnut Street Theater stock company. 

Their son, John Dolman, Jr. (Charlie Jr's great uncle and Liz's great great uncle), was for 40 years a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, a director of plays, and the author of four books in his field The Art of Public Speaking, The Art of Play Production, The Art of Acting, and The Art of Reading Aloud, all published by Harpers. 

Extensive Directing

Charles Seymour, Jr., a Swarthmore (PA) native and Liz's father, is a fourth generation director at The Players Club of Swarthmore, following in the footsteps of his great grandmother Harriet Melanie Nickinson Dolman (also a professional actress), his great uncle John Dolman, Jr. (one of Broadway Director Harold Prince's favorite professors at the University of Pennsylvania), and his father Charles F. Seymour (Former Chairman of Jackson-Cross Company, Realtors, who directed and acted as an avocation, having learned first-hand from his uncle). 

At Tufts University, where he appeared in two operas and one musical (plus work at Harvard's Agassi Theatre), Charlie Seymour, Jr. created and launched Torn Ticket in 1971, which continues to produce musicals each year, and he was the director or musical director for three productions.

Tufts has established a prize named for him, providing an annual stipend for an enterprising junior or senior involved in musical theater who has an interest in business. 

At Wharton Graduate (University of Pennsylvania), he produced and directed three musicals, the first student to earn credit toward his MBA by producing theater. 

He produced and directed the first Harold Prince show (Company) to appear in the theater named for Mr. Prince in the Annenberg Center. He also apprenticed with the New York Shakespeare Festival, working with Tony Award-winning director A. J. Antoon (and performers Zoe Caldwell, Robert Shaw, and Hector Elizondo) while they were in residence at Annenberg. 

He received a Wharton Public Policy Fellowship and worked as the Assistant to the Executive Director at Wolf Trap Farm Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna, VA (outside Washington, D.C.).

After graduate school, Charlie became the Assistant General Manager at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ, where he helped establish the McCarter Theatre - Annenberg Center series of plays. He was also the General Manager of the Loretto-Hilton Repertory Theatre in St. Louis, MO, before returning to the Philadelphia area.

He was also the Producing Director of The Players Club of Swarthmore from 1989 to 1993. 

Since 1975 at the venerable theater (records are incomplete before then), more people saw a Charlie Seymour, Jr. directed musical than productions by any other director. 

In fact, five of the most seen productions were directed by him (nine of his productions are ranked in the top 15 most popular in the theater's long history). 

Since then he has been the Artistic Director for the all-male Mask and Wig Club of Philadelphia, helping to create three book musicals which played Philadelphia for two months and toured various parts of the United States, including New York City.

He wrote the book and lyrics for The Hunchback of Notre Dame Hunchback of Notre Dame with Off-Broadway composer, Neil Radisch. 

He is now the Founder and Owner of StageMagazineOnline.com.


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More About Mrs. E. J. Phillips

More About Mr. John Nickinson

More About Charles Seymour Jr.

More About Liz Seymour

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