Frank Benson

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(1858-1939). English actor-manager. Born Frank Robert Benson, educated at Winchester and New College, Oxford, he was a member of the OUDC at Oxford, and went on to become a noted Shakeseparean actor.

His first professional role was in Romeo and Juliet at the Lyceum in 1882. In 1883 he founded his own company, the Bensonians, playing his first London season in 1889 and ultimately producing all but two of Shakespeare's plays. In 1886 he married Gertrude Constance Featherstonhaugh (1860–1946), an actress. He and his wife also founded the Benson School for Dramatic Art.

He and his company toured South Africa and Rhodesia twice under the auspices of African National Theatres (African Consolidated Theatres?), once in 1913, and again in 1921, doing a series of Shakespeare plays/scenes from Shakespeare.

He was knighted in 1916 and retired in 1933.


Richard Foulkes. 2006. Performing Shakespeare in the Age of Empire [1]

Obituary, Montreal Gazette, January 1 1940[2]

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