IRA ALDRIDGE Famous Speeches

Product no.: HP232

Martin Hoyles

Ira Aldridge was an amazing man. As a ten-year-old working-class black boy in New York, he ran away to sea and was nearly sold into slavery. In 1824, when he was seventeen, he came to London and within months was playing Othello. By the time of his death in 1867 he was the most famous actor in the whole of Europe. He appeared on stage in more than 250 theatres in Britain and Ireland and more than 225 venues on the Continent. This book presents some of the speeches from the plays which he performed, along with extensive commentaries. It also includes an introduction dealing with colour and gender casting, acting style, audience and politics, and Aldridge’s legacy. It is essential reading for drama students and actors.

Includes 57 x black & white images


“This book provides a wealth of information on the principal roles Aldridge played, setting each in an illuminating historical context and telling how audiences responded to the many different characters he portrayed. Hoyles accurately documents the full range and remarkable versatility of this gifted performer.” Professor Bernth Lindfors (University of Texas at Austin)

“An excellent introduction to Ira Aldridge, bringing out his amazing talent and influence. This accessible book will provide inspiration for actors, both black and white. It is a crucial guide for drama students, containing exciting and original audition pieces.” Ray Fearon (Actor)

“A well researched, thorough and comprehensive account of Ira Aldridge’s life and career. The triumphs and challenges he faced and overcame, along with the historical context of the theatrical world, are illustrated with depth and insight. A real tour de force.” Oku Ekpenyon (Historian)

  • 216 x 138 mm
  • 280 pages
  • Paperback

Martin Hoyles taught English and drama for ten years in Newham secondary schools – grammar, secondary modern and comprehensive. Then for over 30 years he was a senior lecturer at the University of East London – in the departments of Education, Cultural Studies, and Communication Studies. He has written books on the history of gardening, childhood, and literacy. His most recent books are

Ira Aldridge: Celebrated 19th Century Actor (Hansib 2008), Caribbean Publishing in Britain: A Tribute to Arif Ali (with Asher Hoyles) (Hansib 2011), William Cuffay: The Life and Times of a Chartist Leader (Hansib 2013), and Cugoano Against Slavery (Hansib 2015)

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