WHO ARE THE PLAYERS?
It might be impossible to count all of the actors in all of the productions of Shakespeare’s nearly forty plays over the past few centuries. Our extensive collection of postcards features nearly two hundred actors (“players”) and actor-managers from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries who appeared in productions Shakespeare’s plays. Some names you may recognize, and some may be new to you. The collection features iconic persons such as Sir Henry Irving and Dame Ellen Terry, and a litany of their successors such as Lily Brayton and Lewis Waller. Seeing the identities of the actors playing various roles will surely raise interesting questions and comments from all degrees of Shakespeare scholars and theater enthusiasts. Either way, surely there’s something of interest for all in our collection.
Our bibliography offers an extensive array of titles written by and about the players in the postcard collection. The early edition by Walter Browne and E. De Roy Koch, Who’s Who on the Stage, 1908, serves as a fantastic starting point for research into many of these players as many of them were alive and working when it was written. Also, many of the biographies on the player-specific pages (like those linked in the paragraph above) on the site feature first-hand accounts or anecdotes from the players themselves about their craft and experience on stage. New on the site is a selection of audio and video clips featuring some of the prominent actors on the site.
Take a look around! The Players menu (under “The Postcards” tab) above is organized by last name.
In the two featured images to the right, you can see (A) the versatile Lily Brayton as Kate in a 1904 production of The Taming of the Shrew, and (B) acting team and couple Sir Martin Harvey and Nina de Silva in a production of Hamlet.