COMPANION

Alexander vs. Loraine 1909

F. M. Alexander successfully sued the actor Robert Loraine for non-payment of lessons in 1909.

The Case

On the evening of 5 March 1909 the actor Robert Loraine contacted F. M. Alexander because he had lost his voice. Loraine was due to perform in The School for Scandal the next day and asked Alexander for help. Alexander started work with him that evening, and proceeded to give him 15 lessons. Loraine then discontinued having lessons. Alexander sent Loraine an invoice for 50 guineas for 30 lessons, as his terms were that payment was due in advance. Loraine refused to pay and the case came to Westminster court 30 July 1909. During examination Loraine denied having agreed to take a course of 35 lessons and that the terms were not mentioned at the first interview. Alexander declared that he had stated the terms during their first meeting. Loraine said that he believed he had lost his voice due to a cold and overwork, and did not think that Alexander’s ‘treatment’ did him any good. He furthermore thought that Alexander’s fees were exorbitant and he would only pay 15 guineas.

Judgement

However, the Judge found in favour of Alexander: that there was an agreement to take a course of thirty-five lessons, and that the price charged was reasonable. He awarded Alexander 32 guineas, with costs.

Reporting

A report of the case is found in the Daily Telegraph & Courier,[1] and almost identical report in the Yorkshire Telegraph and Star.[2] Four other newspapers carried smaller reports of the case.[3] [4] [5] [6]

These six newspaper reports also illuminate the fees Alexander – and voice specialists – charged, and contain reports of some of the actors he taught at the time. The newspaper reports are published in the Mouritz online library.[7]

The case was examined in 2018 by Jeroen Staring who casts doubts on the pupils Alexander claimed he had and the benefit they may have derived from lessons.[8]

References

[1] ‘Actor’s lost voice’ in Daily Telegraph & Courier, 31 July 1909, p. 4.
[2] ‘Actor’s lost voice’ in Yorkshire Telegraph and Star, Saturday Evening, 31 July 1909, p. 5.
[3] ‘Voice specialist’s action’ in Nottingham Evening Post, 31 July 1909, p. 3.
[4] ‘Voice treatment’ in The Derby Daily Telegraph, 31 July 1909.
[5] The Era, 7 August 1909, p. 16.
[6] ‘Specialist who prevents colds’ in Weekly Irish News (Dublin), Saturday 14 August 1909, volume 37, no. 1,728, p. 1.
[8] ‘F. Matthias Alexander Edwardian actresses/actors’ by Jeroen Staring in Case Studies Journal vol. 7, issue 2, February 2018, pp. 9–26.
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