Mrs Cooke

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Mrs Cooke (17?-18?) was a professional actress and singer who, with three other visiting professionals from the Theatre Royal, Liverpool - Mr Cooke, Miss Williams and Mrs Brough - performed in semi-professional plays with the Gentlemen Amateurs(English Amateur Company) during a successful the 1818 season in the African Theatre, Cape Town. They began with The Honey Moon (Tobin) and The Devil to Pay (Coffey) on 24th January 1818 and ended on 21 November 1818 with Catherine and Petrucchio (Shakespeare), Crochet Lodge (Hurlstone), and a divertissiment called Sandy and Jenny, or Love in a Sack (Griffin).

Mrs Cooke's performances received high praise from the local critics, and among the roles specifically mentioned are a lead in The Honey Moon (Tobin), "Nell" in The Devil to Pay, "Amelia" in Lovers' Vows and "Magrietta" in No Song, No Supper.

On the 26th September the company held a benefit performance for Mrs Cooke , doing The Wandering Boys (Pixérécourt) and The Miller and his Men (Pocock), with an interlude of two songs sung by Mr Pitt and "The Bird Duet" ( from Dibdin's comic opera The Cabinet, with music by J. Braham), sung by Mr Cooke and Mrs Cooke.

The company from Liverpool left the Cape for Calcutta and a tour in the East after their final performance on 21 November 1818.

See also the Gentlemen Amateurs for the full programme of the 1818 season



F.C.L. Bosman, 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [1]: pp. 151-157; 170-177.

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