theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013…
The Ira Aldridge Bicentenary Project celebrates the life of the most famous and successful black and classical actor of the 19th century. Born in New York in 1807, Aldridge moved to London as a young man (he later became British), acting at the Surrey Theatre as early as 1825 as Oroonoko in The Revolt of Surinam.
Although well-known in London and the British provinces, his greatest successes were in Europe (especially Russia) where he played roles in both contemporary plays and Shakespeare, notably Aaron, Othello, Macbeth, Shylock and Lear.
Aldridge died in Lodz, Poland, in 1867 – still touring. It is said that he received over 400 awards during his career, the most honoured actor of the age.
Yesterday morning, in the appropriately-named Hamlet Road near south London’s Alexander Palace, a simple ceremony took place. One of English Heritage’s Blue Plaques was unveiled at No. 5, the house where the famous nineteenth-century Shakespearean actor Ira Aldridge used to live.
Aldridge was an American who, after finding it almost impossible to make a career as a black man in the States, came to Britain in his teens. In 1833 he appeared at the Surrey Theatre as Oroonoko in The Revolt of Surinam but it was in the provinces that he established his reputation before being accepted in the patent theatres.
He was much appreciated on the Continent, especially in Poland and Russia, and was weighed down with medals and honours awarded by the European courts. He was particularly known for his Othello and Aaron but, as Oku Ekpenyon told the gathered crowd before unveiling the plaque, he also played Macbeth and Lear (with a white make-up) and his Shylock was considerably appreciated by Jewish audiences in Eastern Europe who felt he gave the money-lender true humanity.
It was particularly appropriate that this unveiling took place in Black History Month and in the year of Aldridge’s bicentenary. It was touching that at the front of the assembled crowd were a number of black children, now among the residents at what had been this great black actor’s home.
Howard Loxton © 2007
Originally published on 25th October 2007 in Rogues & Vagabonds.
Food & Wine
~ my everyday life through the lens of my camera ~
Helping Improve Lives
Vintage Inspired Paper Crafts & Digital Design
A journey through life in Southwest France
Historical Fiction with a French Flavour
It isn't being John Malkovich, but it is being me
Academic, Cultural Critic, & Narrative Designer: Researching Fandom Through Literature, Folklore, Game Studies & Pop Culture.
Daily Reflections from My Home and Garden
The Power of Story
Unlocking the Door to Your Past
Not just a blog, a philosophy
by Jack Monroe, bestselling author of 'A Girl Called Jack'
Realist, writer, reader, reviewer and rocker.
The Real England is a concise, direct, and not-so-gentle window into the depths of the leftovers of the world’s once greatest empire. It is told from the perspective of one lone (or not so lone) long term visitor. It informs one of the dregs of the country and helps to explain quaint British oddities such as the crack addicted chav.
Artists, Writers and Visionaries Blog on the Unique and Ordinary
Collected works and other excuses from a textile obssessive
has random thoughts
Airborne, Seadwellers and Landlubbers Lives
Working with dead people
Writing - Loving What I Do and Doing What I Love!
the darker side to sedge808
Photographs, music and writing about daily life. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Creative Intuitive from New Zealand
Family Saga Fiction by Adrienne Morris
Burgers, Books, Music, Movies, Offbeat Adventures & Pop Culture!
theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013...
Candid cultural comments from the Isles of Wonder
Horror, Science Fiction, Comic Books and More
Traveling the World Through Others
A trip through life with fingers crossed and eternal optimism.
Art, Literature, Poetry, Politics and a little History
Travel and Wildlife Adventures
Writer & Author
it's all about the story, possums...
Observations of the illusion through the eyes of wonder...
Adventures in Watercolor Painting and Sketching, Watercolour Magazine, with Charlie O'Shields
Poetry, Other Words, and Cats
The Bridge between two countries
A lifestyle blog with a little bit of everything.
A personal exploration of autism from a brother’s perspective, including family relationships, philosophy, neuroscience, mental health history and ethics
Entertainment, travel and lifestyle blog
Founder of the Three Things Method of Storytelling