Lillian Beddard

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Lillian Beddard (fl 1880-1890) was a British actress, manager, teacher and journalist.


In 1892 she was appearing in Australia with a "specially engaged Dramatic and Comedy Company", e.g. according to the Barrier Miner of 22 February performing at the Theatre Royal, Broken Hill, with a number of plays. On her way back she apparently stopped in South Africa, to perform a number of the works from the same repertoire.

Based on the following advert she was living in the USA by 1895: "LILLIAN BEDDARD, the English actress, coaches ladies and gentlemen for the dramatic profession ; appearances arranged. Shakespearean Academy, 406 Van Ness Ave." (San Francisco Call, Volume 77, Number 84, 4 March 1895) This assumption is supported by D.C. Boonzaier (1923) also notes that a while after leaving South Africa, she apparently resided in the USA, where, having left the stage she later worked as a journalist.

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

She was initially known in South Africa as an actress of some importance (though according to Boonzaier of no great talent) in the 1880s, and a manager of several companies.

According to D.C. Boonzaier (1923) she presented an event called Grand Classical Performance in the Exhibition Theatre, Cape Town, on 3 May 1888, assisted by Charles Lobbett. The production included the "Balcony Scene" from Romeo and Juliet, the "Sleepwalking Scene" from Macbeth, and the first act of Gilbert's Pygmalion and Galatea, with incidental songs sung by a local singing teacher, Henry Clements. The Cape Town cast also included a Madame K. Schonborn-Lorch.

They apparently then moved to Johannesburg, for Laurence Wright (2020) cites Hoffman indicating that Lillian Beddard and her company were "the first Shakesperian company to perform in Johannesburg" (cited from Hoffman, p.19), and that in 1889 she appeared at the Theatre Royal, Johannesburg, as "Juliet" in Romeo and Juliet (3-8 June), "Clara Douglas" in Bulwer Lytton's Money (10-14 June), "Lady Mary" in J.W. Boulding's The White Queen - a play written specially for her (21-26 June), "Leslie Brudenell" in Pinero's The Profligate (1-3 July) and "Lady Macbeth" in Macbeth (8-13 July).

Awards, etc


Laurence Wright. "Shakespeare in South Africa: The Nineteenth Century". Internet Shakespeare Editions[online]. University of Victoria, Accessed 16 July 2020[1]

Rosemary Ursual Hoffman 1964. A List of Theatre Performances in Johannesburg, 1887-1897. Based on the programme collection in the Strange Library of Africana, Johannesburg. Johannesburg: Johannesburg Public Library.

Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 - 1954) Mon 22 Feb 1892 Page 3

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 1932. (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: pp.388-9

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