10 April 2014 / Events

Macready & Forrest: A Fatal Controversy; Or, It Started with a Hiss

Presented by Professor Michael Gaunt
Chair: Dr Michael Read

William Charles Macready, was one of the great English nineteenth-century actors and Edwin Forrest is acknowledged as the first great American-born actor. Michael Gaunt will discuss their individual acting styles, their friendship and increasingly public rivalry. During Macready’s final visit to New York each actor was attracting audiences that were socially and politically very different. On 10 May 1849 Macready was announced to play Macbeth at the Astor Place Theatre. On the same night, a few blocks away at the Broadway Theatre Forrest was also announced to play Macbeth. The scene was set for the terrifying Astor Place riot.

Professor Michael Gaunt studied at King Alfred’s College, Winchester and the Central School of Speech and Drama. He was a repertory theatre actor who directed from time to time. Amongst those he directed were Evelyn Laye in the UK tour of The Amorous Prawn and Sarah Churchill in A Matter of Choice in Amsterdam. His last acting role was in the UK tour of The Tempest starring Richard Briers. He also appeared regularly in television dramas and was a Jackanory story teller. He was principal at the Guildford School of Acting (University of Surrey) and at the Birmingham School of Speech and Drama (University of Central England). He is a member of the Irving Society and is Vice-Chairman of the STR.


10 April 2014




Swedenborg Hall, 20 Bloomsbury Way, London WC1A 2TH