Like so many actors who played Shakespeare, Doran made his stage debut with Frank Benson in Belfast's Theatre Royale in 1899; he had a part in Julius Caesar.The next year, 1900, again with Benson's company he first appeared in London at the Lyceum as MacMorris in Henry V. He played with Benson, doing mainly Shakespeare, until he left in 1903 to perfom with several different companies. In 1919 he played in Stratford in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Romeo and Juliet, and The Tempest.
With seventeen years experience with various directors and actors, Doran struck out on his own in 1920 and became actor/manager of his own company; he then appeared as practically every major character in most of Shakespeare's plays.
In 1931 he embarked on yet another path when he went to India to become first the director of Shakespeare's plays at the State Theatre in Jhalawar and then on to Bombay where he performed primarily in Shakespeare on the radio. He returned to England in1937, still acting in Shakespeare. His last part was in 1951 as Time in The Winter's Tale. But he was still active on the stage in other parts until 1954; he even went on to film, where he played one part in 1956.
On stage in one role or another, Doran's fifty-seven years in the theatre made him a major force in the profession, particularly in his productions of Shakespeare. Such was his energy and enthusiasm that he kept alive for a few more years the actor/manager system when the major talents, men like Tree, Benson, and Irving, had dissolved their companies. Doran was indeed the last of his theatrical breed.
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