Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Ferdinand Shtoyb

Born on 23 March 1862 in St. Miklosh, Pressburger county, Czechoslovakia, descended from three generations of musicians. His father was a fraygezanener, and was at age twenty-eight the leader in the Austrian military. His mother was very pious. He completed the religious school in the old temple in Vienna, where the family had moved a half-year after his birth. As a child of seven he began to study the violin with Professor Wenniger, then cello. From age ten until fifteen he studied in the Vienna Conservatory, where le learned violin with Green, and composition with Helmisberger.

Having an enormous desire for the stage, which thrust him into a partnership and away from his parents, and he ran away from home, but he was brought back. He went to join a theatre school of Firsht Sulkovsky's theatre (a real Pollack, who maintained a theatre in his castle), and became particularly courageous of director Niklos, former inspector of the castle (burg) theatre.

Through Paris he wandered off to London, where he arrived in 1881-82, where he was found acting with "amateurs" in the former Garrick Theatre, he immediately began to learn English with he help of an English Tenakh translator and became engaged as a piano player in a German club, where he was also engaged in "amateur" productions in German. Sh. also was the chorus director for six German singing clubs. Later he became cellist in the "Strand Theatre." In 1886 he became engaged by Adler as


a piano player in the "Princess Club Theatre." From then on Sh. continued as the conductor of London's Yiddish theatre.

Sh. also composed the music for the comic opera, "Mikado."

During the First World War Sh. also was co-director of the Yiddish variety houses and theatre in London.

Sh. also verbally turned over much information for the "Theatre Lexicon" about the first Yiddish actors and productions in London.

In April 1932 Sh. passed away in London.

In the necrology of London's "Theatre Almanac," the following was said:

"One can say that Professor Shtoyb is descended from the cradle of Yiddish Theatre in London. It was a joy to see at the conductor's stand the imposing, slender figure of Prof. Shtoyb in the Pavilion Theatre.

Per his great musical knowledge, he still had an advantage. He possessed an enormous love for Yiddish Theatre, and he served it with all his efforts. He was very modest, and he earned his applause. He did not willingly accept it. He played with virtually all of the actors from America, and from the Continent. His biography was rich in episodes and accounts of Yiddish Theatre.

Prof. Shtoyb had a large archive of Yiddish Theatre. Regrettably this valuable collection was destroyed during a Nazi action. It is still worth mentioning that his daughter is a talented actress on the English sage, and she is known to the English public under the name of "Dorothy Stars."

Morris Meyer writes:

"When one writes of Yiddish Theatre in London, one must also not forget Ferdinand Shtoyb. He was for many decades the conductor in the Pavilion Theatre. However, he was more than a conductor He took a great interest in the productions, and in the existence of Yiddish theatre in general."

M. E. and Sh. E. from Sh. Y. Dorfman

  • Morris Meyer-- "Yiddish Theatre in London," London, 1942, p. 330.

  • "Theatre Almanac," London, 1943, pp. 57-58.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 4, page 2898.

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