Theatricals, actors and plays from the 16th to the 19th century.

Arden of Faversham

On St. Valentine’s day 1551 a grizzly site was found in the grounds of Faversham abbey - the landowner Thomas Arden lay dead in the snow, his wife’s affair with the tailor Mosby having taken a murderous turn.

Sarah Baker

Sarah Baker, who was born in Milton, was a fairground performer, a ‘strolling player’, who become one of the most successful self-made women of the eighteenth century.

Aphra Behn

Behn’s life is thought to have begun in 1640 in Kent. It is argued Harbledown was the likely place she was born; however, like much of her life, this is difficult to confirm.

Elizabeth Burgess

What is this play wrote by Burgess the Pastry Cook; To thrive she’s turn’d her Hand a thousand ways, But why attempt such things as writing Plays; Let her make Sacques, Gowns, Tarts, and Pies, And not presumptuously an Authoress rise.

Noël Coward

Noel Coward, director, actor and writer, lived at Aldington and later St Margaret's Bay.

Edith Craig

Edith ‘Edy” Craig was a trailblazing theatrical director, producer, costumier and actress. She was a founder of the Pioneer Players, a theatrical group dedicated to creating and producing plays of ‘interest and ideas’ dealing with social, political and moral issues.

George Grossmith

George Grossmith was an actor and theatrical manager, producer and director. But his lasting contribution to literature is the comic Diary of a Nobody.

Dora Jordan

Dora Jordan who was the foremost actress of her day toured the provinces extensively, making several visits to Kent in the late 18th and early 19th century.

Douglas William Jerrold

Dramatist and writer, Douglas Jerrold grew up in Sheerness, a 'jolly' but also ‘loose’ place, full of sailors and officers.

Cicely Hamilton

Feminist actor, writer and playwright, Cicely Hamilton co wrote the popular suffrage plays, How the Vote Was Won and Pot and Kettle with Christopher St John.

John Lyly

Playwright, author and courtier, John Lyly was a Kentishman famed for his euphuistic writing.

Charles Shadwell

Charles Shadwell wrote A Fair Quaker of Deal whilst he was working as supervisor of excise for Kent, a bawdy play of what sailors get up to after a long trip abroad.

Ellen Terry

Ellen Terry was the superstar English actress of the Victorian period. Born to a theatrical family, she first trod the boards aged eight in the part of Mamillius in The Winter’s Tale.

Theatrical Entertainment in Canterbury

From Roman times to the present day, Canterbury has a vibrant theatre history.

Florence Warden

Actor and writer, Florence Warden worked at the Haymarket and Vaudeville theatres and directed The House on the Marsh, before moving to the Kent seaside.

Gertrude Warden

Actor and writer, Gertrude Warden co-wrote Woman’s Proper Place (1896) and The Cruel City (1896) before turning to the Kent countryside for inspiration.