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George Augustus Conquest

(1837—1901) actor and playwright


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(1837–1901), English dramatist, acrobat, and pantomimist, the only son of the theatre manager Benjamin Conquest [née Oliver] (1805–72). George Augustus acted under his father's management at the Garrick Theatre as a child and was then sent to Paris to study, his parents intending him for a musical career. He preferred, however, to return to the theatre, and alone or in collaboration wrote some 40 pantomimes, celebrated for their brilliant flying ballets and acrobatic effects, and about 100 melodramas, many of them adaptations from the French. These were mainly produced at the Grecian Theatre, which he took over when his father died while in management there. A competent artist, Conquest designed, painted, and made scenery, properties, and masks for his productions, in many of which he appeared. He was a powerful character actor, and an excellent animal impersonator. Off-stage he stammered badly but this was never apparent in his acting. In 1879 he sold the Grecian and embarked on what was intended to be a lengthy tour of the United States, but a serious accident on stage soon after his first appearance forced him to return to England. In 1881 he took over the Surrey Theatre and again made it famous for pantomimes and melodramas. He had three sons, all pantomimists.

From The Concise Oxford Companion to the Theatre in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Theatre.


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