Sarah Siddons: The First Celebrity Actress
Sarah Siddons: The First Celebrity Actress

Sarah Siddons: The First Celebrity Actress

Willett, Jo
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For attendees to the Ashland Public Library Event with Jo Willett on July 23, the author will be signing bookplates for every book ordered through Aesop's Fable.

Sarah Siddons grew up as a member of a family troupe of travelling actors, always poor and often hungry, resorting to foraging for turnips to eat. But before she was 30 she had become a superstar, her fees greater than any actor - male or female - had previously achieved.

Her rise was not easy. Her London debut, aged just 20, was a disaster and could have condemned her to poverty and anonymity. But the young actress – already a mother of two - rebuilt her career, returning triumphantly to the capital after years of remorseless provincial touring.

She became Britain’s greatest tragic actress, electrifying audiences with her performances. Her shows were sell-outs. Adored by theater audiences, writers, artists and the royal family alike, Sarah grasped the importance of her image. She made sure that every leading portrait painter captured her likeness, so that engravings could be sold to her adoring public.

In an eighteenth-century world of vicious satire and gossip, she also battled to manage her reputation. Married young, she took constant pains to portray herself as a respectable and happily married woman, even though her marriage did not live up to this ideal.

Sarah’s story is not just about rags to riches; this remarkable woman also redefined the world of theater and became the first celebrity actress.

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Pen and Sword History (July 30, 2024)
  • ISBN-13: 9781399018623