Dorothea Baird

(1875-1933) Born in England in 1875, Dorothea Forster Baird made her first stage appearance with the Oxford Union Dramatic Society (OUDS) in 1894 as Iris in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She then married friend and former OUDS player Henry B. Irving, the son of Sir Henry, in 1896, so her career was quite naturally entwined with that of her husband. They seldom appeared separately on stage. In 1894, Baird joined Ben Greet’s company where she played many Shakespeare roles, among themRead more

Henrietta Crosman

(1865-1944) Henrietta Crosman was born in Wheeling, West Virginia, in 1865 and made her first stage appearance in 1883. In 1889, she played her first role in Shakespeare as Celia in As You Like It, and in 1902, she successfully took the part of Rosalind in the same play; this Broadway production had a run of sixty performances at the Theatre Republic. She played Shakespeare again in 1916 as Mistress Page with J. K. Hackett and Viola Allen in TheRead more

Sybil Arundale

(1882-1965) Either through choice or through talent, Sybil had a more active career than her sister Grace. Grace had much experience with Shakespeare in her early years before she moved on to lighter fare, but Sybil seems to have played in only a few Shakespeare plays: in 1898 as Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and later as Rosalind in As You Like It. But that is not to say that she was not a serious dramatic actor. When IbsenRead more

Lily Brayton

(1876-1953) Elizabeth “Lily” Brayton was born in England on June 23, 1876. She made her first stage appearance in 1896 with Frank Benson’s company in Richard II (see anecdote below). She remained with the troupe for some time, so as a “Bensonian” she played many roles in the plays of Shakespeare, appearing several seasons in the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Her last appearance on the stage was as Portia in Julius Caesar. She married fellow actor Oscar Asche in 1898 and theyRead more

Margaret Halstan

(1879-1967) Playing first in amateur productions, Margaret Halstan became a professional actress in 1895 at the Haymarket Theatre in a walk-on part in Trilby. Her first part in Shakespeare was a small one; she was the Player Queen Hamlet with Herbert Beerbohm Tree‘s production of the play. In 1897, she played Octavia in Antony & Cleopatra and then that same year appeared as Bianca in an adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew entitled Katherine and Petruchio. In 1900, she joinedRead more