John F. Sheridan

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John F. Sheridan (1843-1908) was an actor-manager and dramatist.


Born in Rhode Island, USA 1843, he entereted the theatrical profession at an early age. He was married three times, twice to actresses (May Livingstone and Gracie Whiteford)

He died on 25 December 1908 in Newcastle, NSW, Australia.


He was primarily a comedian and female impersonator, often playing the pantomime dame and was long remembered for playing the "Widow O’Brien" in Fun on the Bristol (a role he had played over 6000 times by the time he visited South Africa in 1904). He was also a singer and dramatist, and ran his own company for many years. (The company's name occurs in sources inter alia as The Sheridan Company Comedy Company, The Sheridan Company) Over the course of his career he and his company toured in England, India, USA, Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

He wrote or co-wrote a number of the works they put on, including Fun on the Bristol (1882), Mrs Dooley's Little Joke (1903).

Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance

He visited South Africa in 1904 for a six month tour of the country under the management of Frank and Ben Wheeler. His repertoire included and Mrs Dooley's Little Joke They played in the Good Hope Theatre, Cape Town, during September. Besides the actor manager John F. Sheridan himself, the company also featured the popular midget[1] performer John Rumbelow (known as "Little Gulliver"), a long-time member of Sheridan's enterprise.


Sheridan, John F. (1848-1908), Theatre Heritage Australia Inc. (Wednesday, 14 June 2017)[2]

D.C. Boonzaier, 1923. "My playgoing days – 30 years in the history of the Cape Town stage", in SA Review, 9 March and 24 August 1923. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: p.421.

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