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The Burns Encyclopedia
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Siddons, Mrs Sarah (1755 - 1831)

The famous actress made her debut in Edinburgh 22nd May 1784, in Venice Preserved by Thomas Otway. For this performance, and for her performance the following year, the Capital was in a state of considerable excitement. According to the Edinburgh Weekly Magazine: 'The manager took the precaution after the first night to have an officer and Guard of Soldiers at the principal door. But several scuffles having ensued through the eagerness of the people to get places, and the soldiers having been rash enough to use their bayonets, it was thought advisable to withdraw the guards on the third night, lest any accident had happened from the pressure of the crowd, who began to assemble round the doors at 11 in the forenoon.' In 1788, she played again in Edinburgh. This time in the role of Lady Randolph in John Home's Douglas. Burns mentioned her in the Prologue which he wrote for the actor William Woods' Benefit Night:

'It needs no Siddons' powers in Southern's song.' The reference is to The Fatal Marriage by Thomas Southerne (1660 - 1746), in which Mrs Siddons was celebrated for the part of Isabella.

She was a sister of John Kemble, and her son, Henry, was the manager of Edinburgh's Theatre Royal.

Henry Mackenzie said that: 'She could not untragedise herself... She promised Scots oatmeal porridge in terms that might have applied to nectar or ambrosia'.

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Robert Burns Store

NEW!! robert burns store View our exclusive range of distinctive Robert Burns related products. Register with our Shopping Club for further offers and unique member offers.Click here...


Complete Burns Songs

linn recordings of burns Linn Records have completed their landmark recording of all 368 Burns songs, available as individual CDs or a 12 volume presentation box set. We have full details. Click here...


Burns Music & Recordings
Search our huge CD and music store for any Burns-related phrase!
Hint: Type "lang syne" or "peck maut" etc. into the Search box there for all artists, titles, descriptions or track listings with the words entered.
Burns Chess Sets

Burns Chess SetsUnique collectors' pieces based on Burns' life and works. (The ideal gift for your Burns Supper guests!) Click here...

Scotweb Store

ScotwebThe finest Scottish shopping site in the world, with the world's largest choice of kilts and tartans, exclusive jewelry, Highland Dress, Bagpipes and piping supplies, cashmere, and much more. Buying from these sites helps pay for the upkeep of Burns Country! Click here...