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Ashbury, Joseph (1638–1720), actor and theatre manager, was born in Covent Garden, London. The names of his parents are not known. After an education at Eton College he was commissioned as ensign in the Irish army of James, first duke of Ormond, either in 1657 or 1658. He assisted the royalists at the taking of ...

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Bancroft [née Wilton], Marie Effie, Lady Bancroft (1839–1921), actress and theatre manager, was born on 12 January 1839, probably in Doncaster, the eldest of the six daughters of Robert Pleydell Wilton (1800–1873), a provincial actor, and his wife, Georgina Jane (1818–1866), the daughter of ...

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Marie Effie Bancroft, Lady Bancroft (1839–1921) by Barraud, 1885 [The Bancrofts: and Squire Bancroft (1841-1926)] © National Portrait Gallery, London

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See Bancroft [née Wilton], Marie Effie, Lady Bancroft

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Baskervile [née Shawe], Susan (bap. 1573, d. 1649), theatre company associate, was baptized at St Botolph's, Aldgate, London, on 15 April 1573, the daughter of Edmonde Shawe. A younger brother, John, was also baptized there on 12 February 1575. On 4 January 1592, aged eighteen, ...

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Baylis, Lilian Mary (1874–1937), theatre manager, was born at 19 Nottingham Street, Marylebone, London, on 9 May 1874, the eldest daughter of Edward William Baylis, an employee of Gillows furniture store in Oxford Street and a baritone singer (known as Newton Baylis), and his wife, ...

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Lilian Mary Baylis (1874–1937) by Charles Ernest Butler, 1926 V&A Images, The Victoria and Albert Museum

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Bedingfeild [née Draper], Anne (1560–1641), theatre landlord and benefactor, was born in August 1560, the daughter of John Draper (d. 1576) and his wife, Margery, née Wilkes (d. 1600/01), of the parish of St Dunstan-in-the-West, London. Her father was a rich city brewer who owned various freehold properties in the ...

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Betterton, Thomas (bap. 1635, d. 1710), actor and theatre manager, was baptized on 11 or 12 August 1635 at St Margaret, Westminster, London. His father, Matthew (d. 1663), was an under-cook to Charles I, according to Betterton's first biographer, Gildon. His mother was ...

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Thomas Betterton (bap. 1635, d. 1710) studio of Sir Godfrey Kneller [original, 1690s] © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Biddles, James (1815–1871?), actor and theatre manager, was born at Mountsorrel, near Loughborough, the eldest of the seven sons of James Biddles, a Leicestershire farmer, and his wife, Elizabeth. James Biddles the younger married Ann Maria Phillips (d. 1843) at St Margaret's Church, Leicester...

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See Brayne, John

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Brunton, John (1741–1822), actor and theatre manager, was born in Norwich on 10 November 1741, the son of John Brunton, a soap maker, said to have come from a Scottish family tracing its descent from James II of Scotland. Young John Brunton went to ...

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Bunn, Alfred (1796–1860), theatre manager and librettist, was born on 8 April 1796. In his autobiography, The Stage: both Before and Behind the Curtain (3 vols., 1840), he implied that he came from an upper-class family, but gave no details. He published some poetical works, written in a conventional vein, in 1816 and 1819. In the latter year he embarked on the sequence of positions as lessee and manager of various theatres that, together with writing opera librettos, occupied most of his career. From 1819 until 1824 he held the lease of the ...

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Cade, (Dorothy Mary) Rowena (1893–1983), founder of the Minack Theatre, Cornwall, was born at The Homestead, Spondon, Derbyshire, on 2 August 1893, the elder daughter and second child in the family of two daughters and two sons of Charles James Cade (1850–1917) and his wife, ...

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Charles Alexander Calvert (1828–1879) by William Keith, c. 1860 [as Caliban in The Tempest] V&A Images, The Victoria and Albert Museum

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Calvert, Charles Alexander (1828–1879), actor and theatre manager, was born in London on 28 February 1828, the son of William Henry Calvert (d. 1857), a silk merchant, who claimed descent from George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore. A. W. Ward's assertion (...

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Carr, Joseph William Comyns (1849–1916), author, gallery director, and theatre manager, was born on 2 March 1849 at 47 Devonshire Street, Marylebone, Middlesex, the seventh of the ten children of Jonathan Carr, a woollen draper, and his wife, Catherine Grace Comyns. His father was from ...

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Carte, Dame Bridget Cicely D'Oyly (1908–1985), theatre manager, was born on 25 March 1908 at Suffolk Street, Pall Mall, London, the elder child of Rupert D'Oyly Carte (1876–1948), chairman of the Savoy group of companies and proprietor of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company...

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Dame Bridget Cicely D'Oyly Carte (1908–1985) by Jane Bown, 1982 © Jane Bown