The Society's seal and three photographs

African Lives in Northern England

Ira Aldridge, Actor

Ira Aldridge was 'the great Black classical Shakespearean actor of Victorian times' (Wills, 2020, p 43). He specialised in playing Othello, and performed to packed houses in Newcastle and Sunderland in 1827. He has a Wikipedia page and an entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, as does his daughter Amanda (1866-1956), who was herself a singer and composer.

Until recently, a room at the Theatre Royal was named The Aldridge Room, but this name was dropped a few years ago in favour of that of a theatre sponsor.

Picture credits; James Northcote's painting of the actor as Othello is in Manchester Art Gallery, reproduced with permission from Alamy. Playbill: Public domain.

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In the future, don’t forget your past