Day 27 - England!
Thursday, April 27, 2017 1:09 PM
First English Actresses
Who was first?
• Margaret Hughes - >
○ she was there for about five minutes
○ then got married into nobility and obviously
• Anne Marshall -->
○ probably the first accredited actress
• "stage beauty"
• Said to be a child actor of the old realm but he would
have been two years old
• Started playing female roles at 20 but soon changed to
Mary Betterton (Saunderson)
• 1661-1694 active performance dates
• Enduring actress
• First wave for Davenant
• Married Thomas Betterton (1662)
• Trained new actresses!!
• First actress to play Ophelia, Juliet, Lady Macbeth
• Buried in Westminster Abbey with Thomas as the first
actors to be buried… but they have unmarked graves.
• Nickname "Ianthe" from Seige of Rhodes
• Much John Dryden and Aphra Behn
• 67 known roles. Florinda in The Rover.
Nell Gwyn • 67 known roles. Florinda in The Rover.
• 1665-1670 active
• Short, notorious career
• Flaunts sexuality, began as an orange wench
• A Favorite of Charles II: "The Protestant whore"
• Gave him a bastard son who was given a title!
• Best in comedy / and epilogues
• Wonderful at direct audience address
• King's Company (Killingrew)
Mary "Moll" Davis
• 1662 -1668 active
• Duke's Company, rival to Nell Gwyn
• Also flaunts sexuality, gets involved with Charles II,
just like Nell Gwyn
• She Would If She Could (Etherege)
• Viola in Law Against Lovers(Twelfth Nightcombined
with Much Ado)
• Offstage reputation blended with onstage antics. "The
most pertinent slut in the era" -Not Ron
• 1675 -1708
• Ignored attacks on reputation
• Long starring career (over 120 known roles)
• First actor of either sex to get an annual benefit
• Ward of Bettertons
• Close friend of Aphra Behn
• Versatility personified
• Helena in The Rover
Anne Bracegirdle Anne Bracegirdle
• Insisted on honest reputation
• Played with Elizabeth Barry for 20 years
• Muse for William Congreve
• Played youthful beautiful heroines for entire career
• Millamant in Way of the World
• In many plays by Mary Pix and Susannah Centlivre
• First women to perform Shakespeare
• Cross-dressing happens almost immediately
• Many roles written for or expanded by specific
• Thomas Betterton: Actor/Manager
○ Entire period
• Cave Underhill: Comedian
• John Verbuggen: rakes
• Colley Cibber: fops
• Proscenium Arch Res